Monday, December 21, 2020

Review: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery


Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

Ellen Byron

It's Halloween in Pelican, Louisiana, and that would be great if Maggie Crozat were a fan of this spooky holiday, but she isn't. Nevertheless, the Crozat family has decided to add some special events at the bed and breakfast they operate in the small town to attract more guests. The Crozat family are also expecting to meet some long lost cousins who are arriving from Canada. But when one of them turns up dead at a Halloween event hosted in a cemetery, Maggie is not only surprised; she's the main suspect. Which means she now has to find out who is behind the killing if she's going to stay out of jail. But it's Halloween, and there are far more tricks than treats in this story, and Maggie will have to dig deep to find out what's going on.

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard is a fast-paced, fun cozy mystery with a great deal of atmosphere. I enjoyed the story and the main characters. I especially like the sense of place in this one. I felt like I was in a Louisiana small town the whole way through. Plus, the author includes a few recipes in the book as well.

This review was written by me and originally published by City Book Review

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Review: The Vacation


The Vacation

T.M. Logan

Kate and her three friends from university are set to spend a glorious vacation in a villa located in the south of France. It's meant to be a time for their families to reconnect and relax. But Kate suspects her husband is having an affair. To make matters worse, she suspects it's with one of her friends at the villa, but which one? That's what she's going to try and find out.
What she finds is a lot of lies. Along with the complicated lives they all lead, Kate finds that some of her friends are better at keeping secrets than others. If they come out, these secrets may end up costing these friends more than they can imagine. And one will stop at nothing to make sure that doesn't happen.

The author has written a compelling story full of suspense and mystery. I couldn't put this book down. Everyone has something to hide, and it isn't always clear whether the next page will hold a clue or another mystery. I love how the author creates twists and turns in the story, much of which I didn't expect. All of it kept me guessing until the end. I can't wait to see what Logan writes next.

Thanks to St Martin's Press for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Review: Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know


Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know

Candace Rose Rardon

If there is anything you want to know about tea, chances are this slim book covers it. From a short history of this popular beverage to how to host a tea party, Ms. Rardon explains the many aspects of tea culture. I particularly enjoyed learning about the different tea varieties. There are six of them: white, green, yellow, oolong, black and dark. But they are all derived from the same plant species, Camellia Sinensis, first discovered in China.

One of the interesting facts about tea is that it contains less caffeine than coffee, and an amino acid known as theanine in the leaves slows down the caffeine's absorption rate. For this reason, it does not cause the same jolt of energy one often experiences with coffee. I appreciated the information provided on teabags versus loose tea. After reading this, I will likely now focus on purchasing better-quality, loose tea.

The author also gives a wonderful glimpse into tea culture around the world. And while I did wish the book had been a bit on the larger size to make it easier to read, I nonetheless enjoyed it. I felt inspired to go out and try something new. And with tips on how to make the perfect brew, I think this would make a great little gift for any tea lover.

This review was written by me and originally published by City Book Review.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Review: Christmas Cupcake Murder


Christmas Cupcake Murder

Joanne Fluke

It's Christmas time in Lake Eden, Minnesota and Hannah Swensen is busy trying to bake enough cupcakes and cookies to keep the town happy. But, when an injured homeless man is found in a vacant shop that Hannah's mom wants to rent, Hannah wants to help find out what happened to him. Surely he has a home somewhere. It won't be easy to discover his past since he's lost his memory and the local doctor thinks he's been hit on the head. Was he the victim of a crime? Hannah isn't sure. But, she may find some clues as he begins to help out around the bakery and in her mother's antique store.

If Christmas Cupcake Murder doesn't put you in the mood to bake and eat cupcakes all day, I don't know what will. Personally, I found this one to be more centered on Hannah's cooking than on solving a mystery. But I liked that it brought all her friends and family together in a good cause just in time for the holiday season. Fans of this series will be happy to know that recipes have been included.

This review was written by me and published by City Book Review.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Review: The Ice Daughters


The Ice Daughters

D E White

Detective Constable Dove Milson and her partner Steve have been called to a strange crime scene. A frozen body has been discovered near a barn fire, and a single mother who lived at the farm has been abducted. Time is of the essence if they want to find her alive, and the winter storm weather is not on their side.

It doesn't take long before they have another frozen body on their hands and another missing mother. Is there a serial killer on the loose? The police now have their hands full with a complicated case that seems to be leading back to an ex-husband and a group of tight-knit former university friends. But what links them is more than a few parties or nights at the pub and DC Milson is determined to find the connections to solve the case. At the same time, she is trying to find time to connect with her fiance and her sisters, but that isn't easy with the horrible weather and the long hours she has to devote to the case.

The Ice Daughters is a fast past mystery with a complex plot that kept me interested until the end. I loved DC Dove Milson. She was able to juggle so many aspects of her life and stay focused on the case. The characters and the scenery were well developed, and I felt like I was with the investigation the whole way through. I also liked how the author dealt with the back story in this one. Everything I needed to know about Dove was provided, making her a character I could get to know and appreciate. I also think that the fast pace made this such a page-turner and a book that I enjoyed.

The Ice Daughters will be released on 17 December 2020 by Joffe Books.

Thanks to Joffe Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Review: Of Mutts and Men

Of Mutts and Men

Spencer Quinn

Bernie Little from the Little Detective Agency and Chet, his dog, and trusted partner have a meeting set up with a hydrologist, Wendell Nero. The only problem is, when they get to the RV in the desert where Wendell's working, he's already dead. It looks to the local Sheriff like a case of robbery gone wrong but, Bernie doesn't agree. He thinks the person arrested for the crime is a petty thief for sure but not a murderer. So, Bernie and Chet have to do some digging into Wendell's past if they want to find the real killer.

Of Mutts and Men is an entertaining story that will leave dog lovers wanting more, particularly as it's told from Chet's point of view. I can't think of a more delightful duo than Bernie and Chet. The fact that Chet is so thoughtful, lovable, and totally devoted to Bernie is the main reason I think this series works so well. Frankly, it could become something of an addiction for me because, by the time I finished this episode, all I wanted to do was jump right into another one.

This review was written by me and published by City Book Review.