Review: Death at the Day Lily Cafe by Wendy Sand Eckel


Here we have Rosalie who has the grand opening of her long-sought-after cafe. And what happens? Friend Doris stumbles in all agog that her sister is being accused of murder! Rosalie is no stranger to crime investigation, so she gets right on that, much to the sheriff’s chagrin. 

While Rosalie tries to find the real murderer, she’s also managing employees, keeping track of her health, being a mom, hanging out with the farmer who leases her land, and keeping a bad guy out of her hair! 

This is a cute cozy mystery that also includes romance and family secrets. It’s second in a series, and I didn’t read the first one… so it was hard to feel engaged with all the characters right off the bat. However, I did love the cafe setting, Rosalie’s daughter, the farmer, and the lovely cook! 

-calliope

Buy DEATH AT THE DAY LILY CAFE

Review: Malevolent by Jana DeLeon

51bf4t0pbbL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_There’s something to be said for a good murder mystery. I hesitate to use the term “cozy mystery” because that’s always seemed like such a contradiction to me. But still. I’m not talking about one of the serious psychological thrillers full of blood and gore that leaves you sleeping with the lights on for a week. What I like from time to time is a well-written mystery with a little bit of murder thrown in for good measure. And this introduction to a new series from Jana DeLeon fits that description perfectly.

Shaye Archer is finally getting her life on track after a traumatic childhood, to say the least. And she’s realizing her dream of owning her own business with the opening of a private investigator business. But before all the furniture is even delivered, her first client shows up at her door. Emma has had trauma of her own, escaping her abusive husband only by killing him. So then how can he be stalking her if he’s dead? When she enlists Shaye to help her find the answers she so desperately needs, both of them find themselves in greater danger than they could ever have imagined.

This is a great mystery with great characters. The story moves along nicely, and there’s plenty of suspense along with a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I especially love the lead character, Shaye, and can’t wait to dive in to her next adventure coming out this fall!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Malevolent (Shaye Archer Series Book 1)

Review: Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries #1) by Christy Barritt

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Since I’m on a mystery roll, I scoured my early kindle purchases for a fun cozy mystery title. Hazardous Duty fit the bill. It reminds me of Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum books – but subtler, cleaner, and with a smidge of God talk in there.

Gabby is a crime scene cleaner, so she runs into murders and mayhem all the time. Difference is, usually no one tries to kill her! Gabby tries to help a friend and solve a crime while maneuvering around politics and a dirty politician. Between trying to save her own life, spending time in her apartment house of quirky friends, and trying not to fall in love with a man anything like her loser dad, Gabby is a little bit scattered and a lot scared!

Thanks to two new friends who happen to be male, good-looking, and on the right side of the law, Gabby makes it to the end of the book alive. On her way, a little seed of faith is planted, and I can’t wait to see where it takes her in Book 2.

This is a deal at 99¢, and so good that I gladly paid $10 for book 2. 🙂 Yes. I did.

-Calliope

buy HAZARDOUS DUTY

Review: Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

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What FUN! 1930s England, vacationing at the shore, a rocky marriage, social climbers, and a MURDER!

This reminded me so much of Agatha Christie, but with a contemporary bent. The inclusion of romance and implied social commentary on marriage… brilliant.

I loved the travelling, Amory’s husband Milo’s gracious loyalty, Gil and Emmaline’s warm sibling relationship, and the obnoxiousness of some of those guests at the Brightwell. You can’t even make this stuff up. (Well, okay, Weaver DID make it up, but it seemed pretty real to me!)

Love, hate, selflessness, mayhem, sweet nothings … You get much more than a mystery with Murder at the Brightwell.

-Calliope

buy MURDER AT THE BRIGHTWELL

Review: Louisiana Longshot by Jana DeLeon

20140118-075431.jpgReading is a lot like eating. Sometimes you need an appetizer, something to whet your appetite for bigger things to come. Sometimes you need something more meaty and substantial, like a hearty filet of mignon. And sometimes you need something sweet and fluffy, like a delicious tiramisu. This wonderful little book by Jana DeLeon filled my craving for dessert perfectly.

Welcome to Sinful, Louisiana. Such a quaint, picturesque little town where everybody knows your name. Just the place for a CIA agent in hiding to lie low. Secret agent Fortune Redding has a price on her head after killing the brother of an international arms dealer. To make matters worse, there’s an internal leak at the CIA. When her superiors decide she needs to go into hiding until matters are resolved, Sinful is chosen as the perfect hideaway. It’s quiet, peaceful, and safe. The perfect place for her cover as a former beauty queen turned librarian. But as luck would have it, she arrives in Sinful right in the middle of decade old murder mystery. Helped by a not-so-harmless duo of grey haired ladies, she naturally attempts to help solve the mystery while at the same time not blowing her cover.

This was such a fun book to read. The characters are hilarious and had me laughing out loud. The author nailed the descriptions of small town life and southern life in particular. It’s not going to win awards for being thought-provoking or life-changing but it was a highly enjoyable read for me. I’ll definitely be reading the next two books in the series very soon!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Louisiana Longshot (A Miss Fortune Mystery)

Review: Secondhand Stiff by Sue Ann Jaffarian

20131204-095936.jpg Just released December 1!

This cozy mystery is the most recent in Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Odelia Grey Mysteries series, and I’ve read them all. Yes, I love a good cozy mystery with a female protagonist who pals around with cops, but there’s something about the characters that makes this series stand out. Odelia isn’t too perfect or too quirky… She seems real. She and her husband Greg clearly love each other but have regular arguments, too. Their extended family annoys them – hey, just like real life! Odelia’s nosiness gets her mixed up with the wrong crowd more than occasionally, but she manages to solve mysteries and save herself – from death, but not always from harm – with the help of Greg and their friends.

This particular book explores the world of storage unit auctions, secondhand stores, and illusions of grandeur. Odelia and Greg’s commitment to their family means this mystery is personal – and they’ll stop at nothing to prove their relative’s innocence.

When I read this book, I felt like I was watching it happen in real life. Jaffarian describes places and events so well that reading it became a movie in my mind. She controls her writing so tightly: a grilled cheese sandwich is written in with precision – just enough mention to picture yourself at the table with the characters, hearing the crunch and licking buttery fingers (she doesn’t say that, but I imagined it!), but not so much that it interrupts the flow of the story. That’s good writing.

Secondhand Stiff is a solid, funny, caper-ridden novel with well-developed characters and awesome writing. Sue Ann Jaffarian is one of the few writers I regularly seek out for new releases, which I’ll pay top dollar for. I recommend the whole series, but they can be read as standalone books or out of order.

-Calliope

Buy it now Secondhand Stiff