Sunday, August 2, 2020

ROCCO reviews STRONG FROM THE HEART

MEOW!

Today I am reviewing a novel by an author both the Human and I love:  Jon Land.  You may know him best as Jessica Fletcher's new writing partner in the Murder She Wrote series, but Jon has done other books as well...the  most notable being his Caitlin Strong series!



Caitlin Strong wages her own personal war on drugs against the true power behind the illicit opioid trade in Strong from the Heart, the blistering and relentless 11th installment in Jon Land's award-winning series.

The drug crisis hits home for fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong when the son of her outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters nearly dies from an opioid overdose. On top of that, she’s dealing with the inexplicable tragedy of a small Texas town where all the residents died in a single night.

When Caitlin realizes that these two pursuits are intrinsically connected, she finds herself following a trail that will take her to the truth behind the crisis that claimed 75,000 lives last year. Just in time, since the same force that has taken over the opiate trade has even more deadly intentions in mind, specifically the murder of tens of millions in pursuit of their even more nefarious goals.

The power base she’s up against―comprised of politicians and Big Pharma, along with corrupt doctors and drug distributors―has successfully beaten back all threats in the past. But they’ve never had to deal with the likes of Caitlin Strong before and have no idea what’s in store when the guns of Texas come calling.

At the root of the conspiracy lies a cabal nestled within the highest corridors of power that’s determined to destroy all threats posed to them. Caitlin and Cort Wesley may have finally met their match, finding themselves isolated and ostracized with nowhere to turn, even as they strive to remain strong from the heart.

If you like a hard hitting thriller with plenty of action this is the book/series for you!  We give this one a definite five paws!!!!!! Pick it up today!!!!!


Win ROCCO's review copy!!!!!

Leave your name and email addy in our comments section below!  winner will be chosen at random by MAXX.  Ends midnight, August 10.

Friday, July 10, 2020

ROCCO's JULY COZY REVIEWS!

Ma-Row! It's time for my July cozy reviews!

First up:

DEATH OF A WANDERING WOLF
Hungarian Teashop Mystery
Julia Buckley
June 30, 2020
Berkley Mass Market PB
Four stars

The only thing Hana loves more than a good cuppa is finding a delicate porcelain treasure to add to her collection. She's usually on the hunt for teacups but when she spots a rare wolf figurine at a local yard sale, she knows it's her lucky day. Hana also knows the wolf is valuable and tells the seller that he's charging too little for it. His reaction is peculiar--he says he received the wolf from someone he doesn't trust and he just wants it out of his life.

Hana is inspecting her new prize when she finds a tiny microchip attached to the bottom of the porcelain wolf. When she shows the figure to her police detective boyfriend, Erik, Hana is shocked to learn that the chip is actually a tracking device. They decide to confront the seller about the sneaky sale but when they arrive at his house, they find him dead. Erik and Hana now must hunt a calculating killer who has no intentions of crying wolf when it comes to murder...

Second entry in this series!  Four paws!!!!



LAST CURTAIN CALL
Haunted Home Renovations
Juliet Blackwell
Berkley MMPB
June 30, 2020
Four and a half stars



Mel Turner can’t resist the chance to bring the Crockett Theatre, a decrepit San Francisco Art Deco movie palace, back to life. But there’s a catch for Turner Construction: Several artists are currently squatting in the building, and they aren’t the only ones haunting the once-grand halls of the historic theater.…

When one of the squatters is found dead, the police department has a long list of suspects to investigate. Meanwhile, Mel and her fiancé, Landon, are remodeling an old house for themselves, and Mel finds being on the other side of a home renovation project more challenging than she expected. 

When Mel discovers that the former owner of the Crockett Theatre died under mysterious circumstances, and that there just might be a connection to the ghost haunting her own attic, the case takes a new turn—one that could bring down the curtain for the last time.

Who doesn't love a good Juliet Blackwell mystery and this series is stellar!  Four and a half paws!


HANDBOOK FOR HOMICIDE
A Booktown Mystery
Lorna Barrett
Berkley HC Edition
July 21, 2020
Five Stars



Tricia Miles must swim against the tide to catch a killer when Haven't Got A Clue's assistant manager is accused of murder in the latest entry to Lorna Barrett's New York Times bestselling Booktown series.

Haven't Got A Clue bookshop owner Tricia Miles's relationship is on the rocks. After a not-so-fun vacation with her on-again-off-again lover, Marshall Cambridge, Tricia's hoping for smooth sailing back in Stoneham. Unfortunately Booktown greets her not with blue skies but with another body.

When Tricia's assistant manager, Pixie, finds homeless vet Susan Morris's body behind Haven't Got A Clue, Pixie's checkered past makes her the prime suspect. Tricia sets out to clear Pixie's name armed with only an anchor insignia earring found at the scene of the crime.

As Tricia digs deeper she discovers Susan was involved in a scandal right before retiring from the Navy—but since nobody in the village knows Susan, even Tricia's one lead is in danger of drying up. With family drama brewing in the background and all of Stoneham convinced her manager is a murderer, Tricia knows she has to get to the bottom of the case soon before Pixie's life is sunk.


OK I've read every book in htis series and I love, love, Tricia and her adventures (although she's got the worst luck with men).  Adventure number 14 will not disappoint long time fans.  BTW, if you are new to the series you can pick this one up and figure out the character relationships very easily (I know because i started with Book 12 and then went back).  No worries there! Five paws.


KEY LIME CRIME
Lucy Burdette
Food Critic Mystery
Crooked Lane
Hardcover
five Paws

When a fierce rivalry between key lime pie bakers leads to a pastry chef's murder, food critic Hayley Snow is fit to be pied.

During the week between Christmas and New Year's, the year-round population of Key West, Florida, faces a tsunami of tourists and snowbirds. It doesn't help that outrageously wealthy key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his pie-baking contest. Every pie purveyor on the island is out to win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City and Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is on the scene to report it.

Meanwhile, Hayley's home life is turning more tart than sweet. Hayley's new hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that her intimidating mother-in-law is bearing down on the island for a surprise visit. Hayley offers to escort Nathan's crusty mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island's holiday lights, but it becomes a recipe for disaster when they find a corpse among the glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos. The victim--Au Citron Vert's controversial new pastry chef--was a frontrunner in Sloan's contest.

It's bad enough that Hayley's too-curious mother-in-law is cooking up trouble. Now, the murderer is out to take a slice out of Hayley. Can she handle the heat of a killer's kitchen?


Love this series! Five Paws!


Win one of ROCCO's review copies!

To enter, leave your name and e-mail address in our comments section!  Contest closes midnight, July 31.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

ROCCO reviews THE MURDER OF TWELVE (A Murder She Wrote Mystery)

Meow!  Today I'm reviewing the latest in the Murder She Wrote mystery series, THE MURDER OF TWELVE.

Everyone knows I have been singing the praises of Jon Land ever since he took over as Jessica's co-writer from the late Donald Bain.  Land has used his thriller background to bring a different dimension to the series.  And, apart from too much bickering between Jessica and Mort (IMHO) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the last few books and the new fresh take he has given this tried and true series.  However, I do have to say that Murder of Twelve is  my favorite so far, probably because it's a nod to the great Agatha Christie and her famous locked room mysteries.

 Still staying at the Hill House hotel while her beloved home is being rebuilt, Jessica Fletcher finds herself sharing the space for a weekend with a dozen members of a wedding party who have gathered there for a rehearsal dinner. The families of the bride and groom can't stand each other but have agreed to put aside years of long-simmering tension to celebrate the nuptials.

     Unfortunately, weather forecasters underestimated the severity of a storm that turns into a historic blizzard that dumps nearly five feet of snow on Cabot Cove, leaving everyone stranded.

     But the hotel guests have bigger things to worry about than bad weather conditions and potential cold feet, because a murderer has shown up uninvited--one who has vowed to take them down one by one....



The suspense is ratcheted up from the first chapter and just keeps on going with more twists and turns than the Runaway Train at Disney.  The ending was a surprise to me and trust me, it's pretty hard to surprise me with an ending!  If you are looking for a good, old-fashioned page turner of a mystery, look no further than THE MURDER OF TWELVE!!!!!!!

A definite five paw!!!!!!!!!!

THE MURDER OF TWELVE
JESSICA FLETCHER/JON LAND
  • Series: Murder She Wrote (Book 51)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (May 26, 2020)
  • Rating:  Five Paws!!!!!!

Win ROCCO's review copy!

Want to win ROCCO's ARC of MURDER OF TWELVE?  Leave your name and email address in our comments section.  Winner wlll be chosen at random using random.org (Or Maxx)  Contest ends  midnight, June 9th.  US entries only please.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

In ROCCO's hotseat: Karen Rose Smith!

Meow, today my guest is author Karen Rose Smith!




USA Today Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith's 104th novel will be released in 2020! Her passion is caring for her five rescued cats...and strays who are siblings. Her hobbies are gardening, cooking, watercolor painting and photography. An only child, Karen delved into books at an early age. Even though she escaped into story worlds, she had many cousins around her on weekends. Families are a strong theme in her novels in both her mysteries and romances. One of her romances about a country singer hero was developed into a TV movie aired on the UP network the past two Christmases. Watching A VERY COUNTRY CHRISTMAS with friends is one of her dreams come true. Besides romances and mysteries with Kensington, she has published with Meteor/Kismet, Harlequin/Silhouette and Harper Collins/Harlequin. She has also indie published over 20 titles.


Welcome Karen! Let's get started!

R: Tell us a little about your background. 


Hi!  I'm Karen Rose Smith.  I write mystery, romance and women's fiction.  My 104th novel will be released in 2020. Besides writing, my passion is caring four our seven rescued cats. An only child, I delved into books at an early age. I learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, and wished I could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though I escaped often into story worlds, I had many aunts, uncles and cousins around me on weekends. My sense of family and relationships began there.  Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in my novels, whether romances or mysteries, along with couples finding true love.

R: Tell us a bit about your latest book.

MURDER WITH CLOTTED CREAM is book 5 in my Daisy’s Tea Garden mystery series. Daisy owns a tea garden with her Aunt Iris. It’s a peaceful center of community spirit and gossip. In this cozy, Margaret Vaughn escaped her Mennonite family to become an actress in NY.  Now years later she has returned and her multi-millionaire husband has built her a Little Theater. But Margaret has old and new enemies. Daisy is serving tea at Margaret’s Lancaster County historic home, when Margaret is murdered.

Along with the mystery plot, Daisy’s romantic and family relationships continue in the series. She discovers a secret her mom has been keeping and helps her daughter deal with the birth of her first baby and post partem depression. Daisy’s caring about family and friends is one of the elements that I hope draw readers into the series. 

R: How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing a book?

The advantage of writing a series is that the same core characters appear from novel to novel. Before I use a character, I develop him or her. For instance when I thought about my sleuth Daisy Swanson, I knew I wanted her to be a mom with qualities like compassion and kindness along with intuition that helped her sleuth. I decided to make her a widow with heartache in her past to give her depth. I decided that one of her daughters would be adopted so I would have future plot content to pursue. Once in a while as I write about a character, she or he surprises me! That’s what takes my book in a new direction. 

R: How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or write by “the seat of your pants?”

I extensively outline. I began writing after back surgery. I was flat on my back for four years and needed a creative outlet to escape pain. Heavily outlining enables me to write each day no matter how I feel. It’s efficient for me when I’m under contract so I can pick up my synopsis and know exactly the point of my scene and where my characters are headed. 

R:What do you consider more important, plot or character?

I consider my characters to be more important. I believe my readers connect with my characters. My characters go through universal emotions and situations that my readers can relate to. My main characters drive the plot and give purpose to each scene that propels the book forward. 

R:What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer, and what inspires you and keeps you motivated? 

I’ve been published since 1992. I wrote on an average 3 books a year. I was fortunate editors liked my work and sales were good enough to keep me under contract. The challenge is writing books I can put my heart into yet are also marketable. With every book I try to find a spark, an emotional challenge, or an issue that I feel strongly about. From my excitement over the wild horses in the Big Horns, to a pilgrimage to a primitive church in Chimayo, NM where miracles occur, to the challenge for a cowboy with a knee replacement, date rape and abusive relationships, each of those plot points have to touch me deeply. Contracts, deadlines and causes keep me motivated.  

R:What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
At present, I’m working on Daisy’s Tea Garden book 7, MURDER WITH CLOTTED CREAM that will be released May 26. I will keep writing as long as editors like my work.  I’ve written romance, women’s fiction, mystery and even sci fi short stories! Hopefully I’ll adapt to changing needs in the marketplace. 

R:What is a typical work day for you and how many hours a day or week do you devote to writing? 
My process is probably different than most writers. Because of back surgery, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, I’ve had to adapt my writing style. After back surgery, I wrote long hand, laid on the floor and typed manuscript from papers clothes-pinned to a waste can. I don’t write on the computer or laptop. Since the late 90’s, I’ve been using a tape recorder. I send the tapes to a friend who has typed for me all these years, and then I edit the hard copy. My husband puts editing changes into the computer for me. I do write synopses, blogs, and promotional tidbits on my ipad. 

A typical work day used to consist of me writing all day! But with social media, that changed. Now, 80 percent of my time is probably about promoting my brand on Facebook, twitter and instagram. For a while with indie publishing along with traditional publishing my day was about uploading and keeping meta data up to date. I don’t write a certain amount of hours a day. I have writing quotas I adhere to according to deadlines. I like to write two chapters a week. 

R:If you could take 3 books to a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which 3 would you take? 
Three books I would take along would be The Prophet by Kalil Gibran, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Lady Chatterley’s Lover with essays by D.H. Lawrence. 

R:What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring writer?
Cultivate your personal attributes of persistence, patience and determination. Then read until you know what you want to write. Find your own niche.

R:What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? 
Rescuing 7 cats and treating them like kids!  (R: Doesn’t sound crazy to me, meow!)

R:What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I learned to ride a horse and swim when I was 26. 

R:Where can we learn more about you and your books.
I have two websites—a general one with romance included at karenrosesmith.com. And I also have a mystery website at karenrosesmithmysteries.com.

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Night
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Cat  (R:  Yay!  Good answer)
Beach or Pool?  Beach
Steak or salad?  Steak
Favorite Drink?  White grape juice
Favorite Book?  The Flame and The Flower
Favorite TV Series?  Heartland
Favorite Movie?  Ghost
Favorite Actor:  Titus Welliver
Favorite Actress: Maureen O’Hara
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada 
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Michelle Obama.

If I had just one wish, it would be for everyone to listen to each other and live in peace.

Where can we learn more about you and your books? 
Twitter @karenrosesmith

Thank you, Karen, for this great interview!

GIVEAWAY!
Karen will give away a $10 Amazon e-gift card to one lucky commenter!
To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section.  To get extra entries, mention this interview and contest on Facebook, Twitter or your blog (if you have one).  Don’t forget to mention where you’ve mentioned it in your comment so you get credit.  Winner will be selected at random  using random.org.  Contest ends midnight, May 30



Thursday, May 7, 2020

ROCCO's May Cozy Reviews!

Ma-row!  Time for the May cozies!!!!!

First up, the next instalment in one of our very favorite series!!!!!!!

THE MURDER OF TWELVE
JESSICA FLETCHER/JON LAND
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME
HARDCOVER
MAY 26, 2020
FIVE STARS


In the latest entry in this USA Today bestselling series, Jessica Fletcher takes on an Agatha Christie-style mystery when she finds herself stranded in a hotel during a blizzard with twelve strangers and a killer in their midst....


     Still staying at the Hill House hotel while her beloved home is being rebuilt, Jessica Fletcher finds herself sharing the space for a weekend with a dozen members of a wedding party who have gathered there for a rehearsal dinner. The families of the bride and groom can't stand each other but have agreed to put aside years of long-simmering tension to celebrate the nuptials.

     Unfortunately, weather forecasters underestimated the severity of a storm that turns into a historic blizzard that dumps nearly five feet of snow on Cabot Cove, leaving everyone stranded.

     But the hotel guests have bigger things to worry about than bad weather conditions and potential cold feet, because a murderer has shown up ininvited--one who has vowed to take them down one by one....

May I just say i love the direction that Land has taken this series in.  Aside from too much bickering between Jessica and Mort, the stories are crisp and well plotted.  This one has a twist even I didnt see coming!!!!!  They're rebooting everything else, why not Murder She Wrote??????  Definite five paw material.


MARSHMALLOW MALICE
Amish Candy Shop Mystery
Amanda Flower
  • Publisher: Kensington Books (May 26, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 26, 2020
  • Four Paws

With Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot in Ohio’s Amish Country’s most anticipated nuptials of the year, Bailey King is determined to do everything in her power to make the event a sweet success. Except midsummer heat waves and outdoor ceremonies don’t mix, and an exasperated Bailey soon finds herself struggling to fulfill bridesmaid duties and keep her stunning marshmallow-frosted wedding cake from becoming a gooey disaster. Then much to everyone’s shock, the entire ceremony crumbles when a guest drops dead, and the cause isn’t sunstroke . . .

Turns out, the uninvited victim came equipped with lots of dirt on the devout reverend’s hidden past. As Reverend Brook tops the murder suspect list on what should have been the happiest day of his life, Bailey and her sheriff’s deputy boyfriend vow to clear his name. Can the duo boil down a series of baffling clues before Juliet considers her marriage a bad mistake—or the killer whips up another deadly surprise?

FURMIDABLE FOES
Rita Mae Brown
Mrs. Murphy Series
Bantam Publishing
May 19, 2020
Four and a half stars


Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen is on the hunt for a killer with a deadly green thumb when a day in the garden turns fatal in this exciting new mystery from Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown.  

Spring arrives in northern Virginia, and as the ground thaws and the peonies begin to bloom a bright magenta, the women of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church prepare for a Homecoming celebration like no other. Harry, Susan Tucker, and their friends are busy planting flowers and trimming hedges to get the church grounds in shape for the big day. 

But a note of a menace mars the beautiful spring: The brewery owned by Janice Childs and Mags Nielsen, two members of the gardening committee, gets robbed, with hundreds of dollars in merchandise taken off their delivery trucks in the dead of night. Is this the work of a random thief? Or is something more sinister afoot?
When Jeannie Cordle drops dead at a charity auction, poisoned by a fatal weed, Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: a killer lurks in their midst, one with a keen understanding of poisonous plants. Although she can’t yet prove it, Harry knows the murder is related to the thefts at Bottom’s Up Brewery.

With help from her feline sidekicks, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, as well as Tee Tucker the corgi and sweet puppy Pirate, Harry sets out to find the weed in St. Luke’s garden—and stop a killer before they can strike again.

Another great installment in a tried and true series.  Who doens't love Mrs. Murphy?????


EVIL BY THE SEA
Kathleen Bridges
Lyrical Press
May 5, 2020
four stars




Liz Holt is bewitched, bothered, and bewildered when a wicked killer objects to a wiccan wedding . . .   

Island life can get pretty weird. Wiccan weddings, psychic brides, mermaid parades, eccentric parrots . . . Novelist Liz Holt has gotten used to it since moving back to the barrier island of Melbourne Beach, Florida, and once again working in her family's hotel and emporium, the Indialantic by the Sea. But one thing she'll never get used to is murder.

Groom-to-be and leader of the Sunshine Wiccan Society, white warlock Julian Rhodes is poisoned at his rehearsal dinner on the hotel's sightseeing cruiser. His psychic bride, Dorian Starwood, never saw it coming. An old friend of Liz's great-aunt Amelia, the celebrity psychic engages Liz to find out who intended to kill her intended. With her Macaw, Barnacle Bob, squawking "Pop Goes the Weasel" at Dorian's pet ferret, and the streets teeming with mermaids in tails, Liz has got to wade through the weirdness and cast a wide net for the killer—before she's the next one to sleep with the fishes . .

A New to me series.  The Wiccan angle caught my eye (I'm a sucker for a good paranormal).  Enjoyable read.


MURDER WITH CLOTTED CREAM
Karen Rose Smith
Kensington
May 26, 2020
four and a half paws




A catering job has come in for Daisy’s Tea Garden in Pennsylvania’s Amish country—but death will be served before dessert . . .


Margaret Vaughn has hired Daisy to provide afternoon tea for her theater group. A local girl who left long ago for an acting career in New York, Margaret has returned home—with a multimillionaire husband in tow. But while Daisy bustles around Margaret’s historic farmhouse, she senses that there’s tension behind the scenes. Then she discovers the hostess on the floor of the pantry—dead and covered with clotted cream.

Barely recovered from her previous sleuthing adventure, Daisy joins forces with the former detective she’s been dating to help solve the case. Should she cast suspicion on the stars of the upcoming play? Can Margaret’s sister shine a spotlight on potential culprits? Or are there clues to be found in the victim’s past? With plenty of family stress of her own to deal with, all Daisy knows is she better act fast . . .

I've read Karen Rose Smith's other series but not this one.  I was pretty confident I'd enjoy it and I wasn't disappointed.  Now I'll have to play catch up with the previous four in this series!!!!!


STAY HOME....STAY SAFE....READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Win one of Rocco's review copies!!!!!!

Leave a comment in our comments section with your name and email address. Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. (or Maxx!!!!!).. US entries only please!  Contest ends midnight May 21.


 

Monday, April 27, 2020

ROCCO celebrates Spring (a little late, due to move)_ with author Laura Childs and the Lavender Blue Murder!




What better way to celebrate Spring than with everyones favorite tea show owner, Theodosia Browning, who is back in her 21st adventure!

The human and I have  been a fan of this series from the start and we've watched Theodosia grow into a mature Nancy Drew, along with her two sidekicks, faithful sommelier Drayton and baker Haley.  (And let's not forget Earl Gray, her faithful Dalbrador!)  We've seen Theo get herself in some pretty tight spots, usually at the peril of her wardrobe.  Somehow she always manages to come out on top. we've seen her through some pretty traumatic romances, too....let's  hope her latest, Riley, is a keeper!

The plot of LAVENDER BLUE MURDER;

 Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor's lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald's daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she's made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.


We also love the travel tips and tea suggetions at the end of each book!  Really, this series is a must read for mystery fans.....those who love a good "thrillzie" will definitely enjoy Theo and company!

Run, dont walk to your local bookstore to get your copy! 

The author, Laura Childs, will giveaway a signed copy of LAVENDER BLUE MURDER to one lucky commenter!

To enter, just leave your name and email address in our comments section!  All winners will be chosen at random using random.org.  To gain extra entries, mention this blog and giveaway on your facebook page, twitter or webpage!  Be sure to mention you've done that when you leave your comment.  US entries only please!  Contest ends May7!

Friday, April 17, 2020

ROCCO's April Cozy Reviews!!!!!!!!!

Meow Folks, we are back with April's cozy reviews!  Better late than never, guys   After moving safely to Arizona we are glad to announce our return with more reviews!

First up:

GONE WITH THE WHISKER
Laurie Cass
A Bookmobile Cat Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime
March 31, 2020
Four and a half stars


It's the summer season in Chilson, Michigan, and the town is packed with tourists ready for a fabulous Fourth of July fireworks show. Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, have spent a busy day on the bookmobile, delivering good cheer and great reads to even the library's most far-flung patrons. But Minnie is still up for the nighttime festivities, eager to show off her little town to her visiting niece, Katrina.

But then, during the grand finale of the fireworks display, Katrina discovers a body. Minnie recognizes the victim as one of the bookmobile's most loyal patrons. And she knows she—and Eddie—will have to get to the bottom of this purr-fect crime.

This remains one of our favorite series, primarily because of lovable EDDIE, the bookmobile cat.  :)  Recommended. (Side note:  the covers are designed by Mary Ann Lasher, the same woman who also did the Nick and Nora covers!)


A STroke of Malice
Anna Lee Huber
A Lady Darby Mytstery
Berkley Prime Crime
April 7, 2020
Four stars

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are looking forward to celebrating with new friends at an exciting yearly soiree, but they soon learn that murder never takes a holiday in the latest riveting installment in this national bestselling series.
January 1832. After enjoying a delightful few weeks with her family, expectant mother Kiera and Sebastian Gage have been invited to the Duchess of Bowmontʼs Twelfth Night party in Traquair, Scotland. Though she normally avoids such fashionable, rambunctious events, Kiera is ready to join in the festive merrymaking. But upon their arrival at the opulent estate, it becomes obvious that all is not merry in their hostess’s home. The family appears to be under a great strain, and someone seems determined to cause mayhem among the guests with a series of forged notes.

Matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the partygoers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castleʼs crypt. The corpse is thought to be the duchessʼs son-in-law who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage soon realize that a ruthless murderer walks among them—and may well be a member of the duchessʼs own family. And when the investigation takes a treacherous turn, Kiera discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day.

Good mystery. We give this four paws!!!!!



PULP FRICTION
Julie Ann Lindsey
April 28, 2020
Kensington
Cider Shop Mystery
Four and a half stars




Thanks to Winnie's new cider shop, Smythe Orchards is out of the red and folks can get their fix of the produce and other delectable products they love all year round. The locals are even booking the shop for events, including a June wedding! Winnie couldn’t be happier to see the barn filled to the rafters for the big bash—until her doting ex, Hank, is caught in a heated argument with the groom. Winnie plans to scold Hank after the party, but spots him running off instead. And when the groom turns up dead, apparently hit by the honeymoon getaway car, Hank is the main suspect. Now Hank is on the lam, and it’s up to Winnie to get to the core of the truth—before the real killer puts the squeeze on her . . .

We read the first and found this a highly enjoyable series!  think you will too!


PUMPKIN SPICE PERIL
A Cupcake Mystery
Jenn McKinley
Berkley
April 28, 2020
4 1/2 stars

In the twelfth Cupcake Bakery Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay, the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew follows the clever crumb trail of a killer who's anything but cookie-cutter.

Life is all sugar and spice for the Fairy Tale Cupcake bakers--Melanie Cooper is engaged to the delectable Joe DeLaura, Angie Harper and her husband Tate are savoring married life, and the bakery is bustling with happy customers. Until one of their most valued cupcake connoisseurs ends up dead.

Local glass artist and cupcake lover Rene Fischer-Klein has always suffered from a wide variety of health issues. In an effort to cheer her up, her doting husband, Peter, brings her a four-pack of her favorite cupcakes every week. But when the police discover that Rene has been poisoned, there's no sugarcoating the fact that the last things she ate were the bakery's signature pumpkin spice cupcakes! With their lives and bakery at stake, it's up to Mel and Angie to find out who poisoned their artist friend and why, before their future is frosted for good.

A good consistent series that delivers a hit every time!

THE DIVA SPICES IT UP
Domestic Diva Series
Hardcover, Kensington
April 28, 2020
Krista Davis
Five Stars


She's a young Martha Stewart...in Old Town Virginia!
New York Times bestselling author Krista Davis delights with the 13th in her enormously popular and completely charming Domestic Diva Mystery series. When a celebrity ghostwriter dies on the job, it's up to Sophie Winston, Old Town, Virginia's favorite entertaining expert and sporadic sleuth, to whip up an impromptu investigation...


Sophie never considered ghostwriting as a side gig, until former actress and aspiring lifestyle guru, Tilly Stratford, trophy wife of Wesley Winthrope, needs someone to write her celebrity cookbook. Sophie agrees, hoping she'll earn enough bread on this assignment to finish her bathroom renovations. But as it turns out, Sophie isn't the first foodie to get a taste for recipe ghostwriting, and if the marginalia are any indication, this project could be a killer...

Wesley claims professional ghostwriter, Abby Bergeron, suddenly abandoned Tilly's cookbook with no warning. But Sophie quickly discovers that Abby may be more ghost than writer now...and her disappearance was no accident. So Sophie cracks open a fresh investigation but sifting the seasoned murderer from this sampling of salty suspects won't be easy. Will Sophie savor another case closed or will the culprit simply melt away?

I was a big fan of this series and was very disappointed when Penguin axed it; fortunately Kensington picked it up!  this is another series that constantly delivers!  Love the antics of Sophie and her posse! Five stars!


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