July 31, 2022

A Hint of Mischief by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review

I received this book from the author.  All opinions are my own.

Book details
A Hint of Mischief by Daryl Wood Gerber
A Fairy Garden Mystery #3
Paperback - Kensington Publishing
Published June 18th, 2022
368 pages
ISBN: 9781496736048

Book synopsis
From Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber, the third in an enchantingly whimsical series featuring Courtney Kelly, the owner of a fairy-gardening and tea shop in Carmel, California. It’s a special place brimming with good vibes and the kind of magical assistance its proprietor will need to prepare for an old sorority sister’s birthday bash awhile solving a puzzling murder!

Courtney has thrown a few fairy garden parties—for kids. But if a local socialite is willing to dip into her trust fund for an old sorority sister’s fortieth birthday bash, Courtney will be there with bells on. To make the job even more appealing, a famous actress, Farrah Lawson, is flying in for the occasion, and there’s nothing like a celebrity cameo to raise a business’s profile.

Now Courtney has less than two weeks to paint a mural, hang up tinkling windchimes, plan party games, and conjure up all the details. While she works her magic, the hostess and her girlfriends head off for an indulgent spa day—which leads to a fateful facial for Farrah, followed by her mysterious death. Could the kindhearted eyebrow waxer who Farrah berated in public really be the killer, as the police suspect? Courtney thinks otherwise, and with the help of her imaginative sleuth fairy, sets out to dig up the truth behind this puzzling murder . . .

Meet the author - Daryl Wood Gerber
Daryl Wood Gerber is the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling author of the Fairy Garden Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, and the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, as well as the Cheese Shop Mysteries written under the name Avery Aames. She also writes standalone suspense novels and the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense. Prior to her career as a novelist, she was an actress with roles in television shows including "Murder, She Wrote," and she wrote for the popular TV sitcom "Out of this World." Originally from the Bay Area, she now lives in Southern California where she likes to cook, garden and spend time with her frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky. Visit her online at DarylWoodGerber.com.

My thoughts
I enjoyed this new installment of the fairy garden mystery.  This time there was more than one mystery that needed solved, from a stolen manuscript, missing items from a home, a thief robbing businesses to a murder of a movie star.  Follow Courtney and her fairy Fiona as they try to solve the mystery with the help of the other fairies.  The adult fairy garden party was fun to read about as you don't hear of too many adults wanting to have a party like that.  I also like to read about Fiona growing as a fairy.  The way Pixie the cat and Fiona get along warms me.  This is a fun read and even though it is the third in the series it can be read as a stand alone but I guarantee you will want to read the whole series. 

April 27, 2022

Sand Dollar Lane by Sheila Roberts - Review

 I received this book from the author and all opinions are my own. 

Book details
Sand Dollar Lane by Sheila Roberts
Moonlight Harbor #6
Publisher ‏ : ‎ MIRA; Original edition (April 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 077838635X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0778386353

Book description
Brody Green is finding it hard to recover after being dumped by his fiancée, Jenna Jones, then watching her walk down the aisle with someone else. Jenna is determined to make up for her love defection and find him the perfect woman, but Brody is done with love. First a divorce, then a broken engagement. From now on he’s keeping things light, no commitments. Luckily Brody’s business is booming. Beach Dreams Realty is the best real estate company in town. And the only one. Until…

Lucy Holmes needs a new start. In business, in love, in…everything. If ever there was a cliché, it was her life back in Seattle. She was a real estate broker working with her husband until she caught him trying out the walk-in shower in a luxury condo—with another agent. She’s always been the more successful of the two, and with him gone, she’s determined to build a business even bigger than what she had. Moonlight Harbor is a charming town and it has only one real estate agency. Surely there’s room for a little competition.

Or not. Looks like it’s going to be a hot market in Moonlight Harbor. And maybe these two competitors will make some heat of their own.

Meet the author - Sheila Roberts
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com).

My thoughts
I love getting to visit Moonlight Harbor and reading about all my old friends.  Sheila's books always make me smile as I am reading them.  She also does such a good job in the details of everything and makes you want to run away and visit or live in Moonlight Harbor.  It is such a lovely place with such good people. I felt so sorry for Brody and was hoping he would find some happiness and the perfect mate for him. I enjoyed getting to meet Lucy.  I look forward to reading all of Sheila's books and I highly recommend them. 

Simmering With Resentment by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review

I received this book free from the author, all opinions are my own. 

Book details
Simmering with Resentment by Daryl Wood Gerber
Cookbook Nook Mystery #11
Published April 26th, 2022
263 pages, paperback
ISBN: 9781954717916

Book description
With Bride’s Dream Expo in town, it’s all things wedding in Crystal Cove, including at the Cookbook Nook, where owner Jenna Hart is preparing for her own wedding in just a few short weeks. But there’s a dark cloud hanging over the festive mood by the name of Sarita Strachline, a woman Jenna helped convict of arson who is now out of jail and bent on revenge. And when Jenna and Rhett’s intimate prenuptial dinner is rocked by an explosion that nearly takes Rhett’s life, Jenna can’t help but think Sarita is to blame.

Desperate to prove Sarita’s guilt but consumed by worries over Rhett’s condition, Jenna reluctantly lays her case out for the police and leaves the investigation in their methodical hands. Still, she can’t help piecing together the clues, and as the evidence begins to mount, Jenna realizes that revenge may be a dish best served cold, but she can cook up a scheme of her own to bring the culprit to justice—she just has to hope it doesn’t blow up in her face . . .

Includes mouthwatering recipes!

Meet the author - Daryl Wood Gerber
Agatha Award–winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, the Fairy Garden Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense, and two other stand-alone suspense thrillers. Little known facts about Daryl are that she’s jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself, and has appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote. She loves to read, cook, and golf, and has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

My thoughts
This is another fun installment in one of my favorite series. I always like coming back to Crystal Cove to see what Jenna has gotten herself into now. I liked that the wedding expo and Jenna planning her own wedding were the setting/theme of this book. There is a lot going on this book, multiple crimes being committed and the planning of the wedding, and it makes the book read that much faster. This also made it a little harder to figure out who committed the murder. I like it when it is a challenge to solve the murder along with the main character. I look forward to the next book in this series.


April 11, 2022

Blood on the Bayou by Douglas J. Wood - A review

Blood on the Bayou by Douglas Wood
386 pages - Paperback
Published: April 12, 2022
ISBN: 173488486X

About the book:
The Murder Accountability Project, a nonprofit that analyzes FBI data, estimates that there are as many as 2,000 serial killers responsible for the 185,000 unsolved murders in the United States. According to the FBI there could be as many as fifty active serial killers prowling for victims every day. Most of them will never be caught. - Douglas J. Wood

A serial killer is terrorizing the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans. The victims are found with their throats slit, odd symbols on their faces, and a wooden cross in their hands. Detective Rebecca Simone and her team are working the case and when DNA from a local man is found on a body, it looks like the mystery is solved. However, someone in Washington D.C. has been quietly observing, and he is not satisfied with the outcome of the case. Unable to remain an outsider, Special Agent Christopher DiMeglio packs his bags and heads down to an unfamiliar city and an unwelcoming New Orleans police department.

Full of dark alleys and urban legends of voodoo, vampires, and hidden secrets, New Orleans is the perfect setting for a killer to get away with murder. Blood on the Bayou is a gripping mystery with a shocking twist that will leave readers guessing until the very end.

Meet the author - Douglas J. Wood:
Douglas J. Wood is Senior Counsel at the law firm of Reed Smith LLP, he has over 45 years of experience practicing entertainment and media law, often imparting knowledge gained from his career in his books. Listed among the leading global specialists in advertising law in Chambers, the Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers, he is known and respected worldwide and is a member of the Legal 500 Hall of Fame. He received his BA from the University of Rhode Island, his Juris Doctor from the Franklin Pierce Law Center, a Masters of Law in Trade Regulation from New York University School of Law, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of New Hampshire. Doug has been adjunct professor of advertising law at the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law and the University College Cork in Ireland.

He is the author of the award-winning Samantha Harrison political trilogy. In 2018, he published his memoir, Asshole Attorney: Memories, Musings, and Missteps in A 40-Year Career (winner of the 2019 Independent Press Award for Best Humor and Wit). In the following year, he added Dark Data: Control, Alt, Delete, a thriller about cyberwar and financial terrorism and winner of the 2020 Independent Press Award for Best Political Thriller. Doug’s newest novel, Dragon on the Far Side of the Moon, a thriller that pits China and the United States in conquest of the Moon, was published this past summer to rave reviews. His other non-fiction titles include 101 Things I Want to Say…the Collection, a book of fatherly advice to his children and the best-selling text Please Be Ad-Vised: A Legal Reference Guide for the Advertising Executive, now in its seventh edition and described by Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, as the legal bible for the industry. He is currently working on his next novel, Blood on the Bayou, a criminal thriller set in the sultry streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Look for that in 2022.

Doug lives in North Carolina with Carol Ann, his wife of 48 years. They are blessed with three grown children and four adorable grandchildren.

My thoughts:
Another new to me author and another enjoyable book.  I liked how the book/author embraced some of the New Orleans culture and waves it into the story.  The author did a good job of keeping me guessing until the end of the book.  It was an engrossing story that kep me reading late into the night. 

March 21, 2022

The Last December by Velda Allard McElroy - A review

The Last December by Velada Allard McElroy
293 pages - Paperback
Published September 19th, 2019
ISBN: 9781088588451

About the book:
Eighteen-year-old Pearl Hardisty discovers the small town of Silver Lake in Eastern Oregon has more to offer than dry sage brush, old farmhouses, and unbearable freezing cold winters when she met Frank Bunyard. The kindhearted, handsome cowboy made her glad she decided to move with her family after all. Through stories Frank shares with her she learns about friendship, survival, and an unforgettable story of privation and loss from a small band of Modoc Indians who were left behind after the Modoc war. When the tightly knit community of Silver Lake experiences its own tragedy on Christmas Eve in 1894, they learn just how fragile life really is and how important it is to lean on one another and open their hearts and homes to those they once tried to destroy.

Meet the author - Velada Allard McElroy:
Velada Allard McElroy is proud to call Eugene Oregon her home. Her ancestors settled in the Oregon Territory mostly in Lake Co. around the mid 1850's after crossing the plains. Hearing stories that were passed down through generations she learned about the Silver Lake fire on Christmas Eve in 1894 where several of her relatives perished and about her third great grandfather, George C. Duncan, who was instrumental in helping several Modoc Indians after the Modoc war.

Velada is an Office Manager & Bookkeeper for a non-profit who loves creative writing, genealogy, studying history and cultural anthropology.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book from a new to me author.  Reading this book felt like you were right there feeling the same emotions as the characters.  The author did a good job of making you feel as if you were a part of the story. The Modoc Indian War was not one I had heard of before and I am thankful to have learned more about it through the author's telling of it.  Another tragic event in the Native American History.  I also liked how this was based on true facts and that the author had a person connection to the characters.  A very good book in my opinion. 

Murder Under the Tuscan Sun by Maureen Klovers - A review

Murder Under teh Tuscan Sun by Maureen Klovers
#5 in tht Rita Calabrese Culinary Series
318 pages, Paperback
Published March 10th, 2022
ISBN: 9780999494165

About the book:
An idyllic retreat in rural Tuscany seems like the least likely place for a murder….

Rita Calabrese is a lover of all things Italian—especially the food. So she is overjoyed when Sal, her normally oh-so-unromantic husband, proposes a second honeymoon at a villa in Tuscany. For two weeks, she’ll get a respite from her hectic life as a reporter, sleuth, and mother and be able to just lounge by the pool, traipse through vineyards and olive groves, and gorge on gelato and tiramisu.

Then Rita meets a suave Italian art crimes detective convinced that the villa is the epicenter of an antiquities trafficking ring, and her romantic getaway becomes a working vacation. As she quaffs glorious vino and learns to roll pici pasta by hand, Rita sizes up the other guests. Ostensibly, they have gathered for the nuptials of Alessandro and Giovanna, the Romeo and Juliet of the Italian archaeology world. But is one of them also a criminal mastermind?

When the villa’s owner is found dead in an ancient Etruscan tomb, Rita begins to wonder if something even more sinister is afoot. Plunging into an investigation filled with star-crossed lovers, bitter professional rivalries, long-buried secrets, and fabulous food, Rita finds that Italy never loses its ability to amaze.

Featuring delectable, authentic Italian recipes for caponata, pear and almond tart, peaches with mascarpone, and more!

Meet the author - Maureen Klovers
Maureen Klovers has held numerous positions in government, including a stint as a U.S. intelligence officer, and was a political commentator on DC 101’s talk radio show "Neighborhood Stuff." Ms. Klovers has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, China, India, and Latin America. She’s hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, been escorted through a Bolivian prison by a German narco-trafficker, and fished for piranhas in Venezuela. She received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (with a focus on Latin American politics) from the College of William and Mary in 1999 and a Master’s of Public Policy and Master’s of Business Administration from Georgetown University in 2006. She lives with her husband, Kevin, in Arlington, Virginia.

For more information or to sign up for her newsletter, please visit www.maureenklovers.com.

My thoughts:
This is my first book in this series that I have read and I really enjoyed it.  I had no trouble reading this as a standalone book.  One of the reasons I liked reading this book is that I enjoyed the setting: a villa in Tuscany, a dream vacation of mine.  The characters were a pleasure to get to know and to try to figure out whose motive was the strongest for getting rid of teh villa's owner.  Just when I thought I had it figured out I was thrown for a loop and it took me until the end to figure it out.  I think that is part of what made this a good mystery to read.  A very enjoyable weekend read for me.  I will have to check out the rest of the series. Don't forget to check out the recipes in the back, they sound delicious.