Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TRICK OR TREAT! ROCCO's November Cozy Reviews! A day early!

Meow!  Here are my reviews for November, (and there are a lot!) starting with:

A Murder She Wrote mystery
Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
Berkley Prime Crime
November 6, 2018
Five Paws!!!!!!

We will do a more in-depth look at this book and series next week,but in the meantime....all I can say is WOW!  Jon Land has breathed new life into this tried and true series, and this adventure sparkles with spine tingling suspense! A must read for fans of the series (and those who are not, too1) Five Paws!

City of Secrets
A counterfeit lady novel
Victoria Thompson
Berkley; Hardcover
November 6, 2018
Four Paws!

An exciting new book in the series featuring woman-on-the-run Elizabeth Miles--from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.

Elizabeth Miles knows that honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to finding justice.

Elizabeth has discovered that navigating the rules of high society is the biggest con of all. She knows she can play the game, but so far, her only success is Priscilla Knight, a dedicated young suffragist recently widowed for the second time. Her beloved first husband died in a tragic accident and left her with two young daughters--and a sizable fortune. While she was lost in grief, Priscilla's pastor convinced her she needed a man to look after her and engineered a whirlwind courtship and hasty marriage to fellow parishioner Endicott Knight. Now, about nine months later, Endicott is dead in what appears to be another terrible accident. 

Priscilla stands to lose everything, and Elizabeth is determined not to let that happen. But, as always, Elizabeth walks a fine line between using her unusual talents and revealing her own scandalous past. Elizabeth soon discovers that Endicott's death was anything but accidental, and revealing the truth could threaten much more than Priscilla's finances. An excellent addition to this fine series!

A Wrench in the Works
A Fixer Upper Mystery
Kate Carlisle
Berkley Prime Crime
Mass Market Paperback
November 6, 2018
4 1/2 paws

It's easy to see how this popular series became a Hallmark movie!  Love to follow the adventures of Shannon Hammer!  Now her sister Chloe is back in town to film some segments of her popular home repair show.  But when the executive producer is found dead, there are plenty of supsects, including Chloe.  Shannon's investigation leads to the discovery of why her sister moved away from Lighthouse Cove many years ago - could it be connected to the murder?

This was one of my favorites in the series, which i admit i discovered via the Hallmark movies.  Kate Carlisle does an excellent job!  Four and a half paws!

Twas the Knife Before Christmas
Jacqueline Frost
Crooked Lane
November 27, 2018
4 1/2 paws!

I'm a sucker for anything Christmas, particularly this charming series by Jacqueline Frost!
When a body turns up in a larger-than-life candy bowl filled with peppermints on the town square, Holly White is horrified to learn her best friend Caroline is the main suspect. Everyone in town, including Mistletoe, Maine’s sheriff, saw Caroline fighting with the victim on the night of his death. Worse, a custom kitchen knife, engraved with Caroline's initials was found with him.
Now, just ten days before Christmas, Holly’s up to her jingle bells in holiday shenanigans and in desperate need of a miracle. Juggling extra shifts at her family’s Christmas tree farm and making enough gingerbread jewelry to satisfy the crowd is already more than she can handle―and now she has to find time to clear her best friend of murder. Add in her budding relationship with the sheriff, and a personal stalker dressed as Santa Claus, and Holly’s ready to fly south until springtime.
But her Sherpa-lined mittens come off when Caroline is taken into custody. Can Holly wrap up the case in time for Christmas…even after she gains the true killer’s attention? I loved the first book in this series and the second does not disappoint! Four and a half paws

A Midwinter's Tail
Bethany Blake
November 23, 2018
Four 1/2 paws!

I love, love, love this charming series by Bethany Blake.  The characters are so quirky and yet so appealing at the same time, and the plots are well fleshed out.  What's not to love about a mystery featureing a pet sitter as the heroine?
In this one, Daphne Templeton loves the holidays and nothing gets her into the spirit more than the town’s annual Bark the Halls Ball. The whole community will be there to wag their tails, especially this year’s special guest—Celeste “CeeCee” French, founder of a national chain of pet care franchises, who’s returning home to announce plans for a bright new flagship store.
But not everyone’s celebrating CeeCee’s homecoming. Daphne’s friend Moxie Bloom, owner of Spa and Paw, a unique salon for people and their pets, has plenty to growl about. So when CeeCee is found face down under Sylvan Creek's town Christmas tree, stabbed with a distinctive pair of professional-grade pet shears, suspicion lands squarely on Moxie. Despite Daphne’s promises to Detective Jonathan Black, she quickly reprises her role as amateur sleuth. Excellent addition to a good series.  4 1/2 paws! 

Fool's Moon
A Tarot Cats Mystery
Diane A. S. Stuckart
Midnight Ink
November 8, 2018
Four 1/2 Paws!

The author who brought you Hamlet and the Black Cat Bookshop mysteries is back, with new characters and new cats!
Most days, Ruby Sparks feels like the sign that says Tarot Card Reader Extraordinaire should say Tarot Card Reader Barely Competent. But as challenging as it is to take care of her half-sister's new age shop—and her growing menagerie of mystically inclined pets—Ruby never worries that she's bitten off more than she can chew . . . until a customer wants her to divine the truth about a murder.
When her own life is threatened with a double dose of danger, Ruby begins to wonder if she's being played for a fool. Luckily, she has Aphelia and Brandon—sibling black cats with a talent for tarot—and a feisty pitbull friend who all lend a paw in collaring the culprit before Ruby finds herself taking her final cat nap.
I'm a fan of Diane's and I loved her other series. This one has great promise!  I look forward to more from Ruby and company! Four and 1/2 paws!

A Scandal in Scarlet
A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery
Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane; hardcover 
November 13, 2018
Five Paws!

I'm nuts over t his series and I'm not even a Sherlock Holmes fan!  I love the way Vicki Delany plots a book and her characters are delightful!  In this, the fourth instalment, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, acts quickly when she smells smoke outside the West London Museum. Fortunately no one is inside, but it’s too late to save the museum’s priceless collection of furniture, and damage to the historic house is extensive. Baker Street’s shop owners come together to hold an afternoon auction tea to raise funds to rebuild, and Great Uncle Arthur Doyle offers a signed first edition of The Valley of Fear
Cape Cod’s cognoscenti files into Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, owned by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne Wilson. Excitement fills the air (along with the aromas of Jayne’s delightful scones, of course). But the auction never happens. Before the gavel can fall, museum board chair Kathy Lamb is found dead in the back room. Wrapped tightly around her neck is a long rope of decorative knotted tea cups—a gift item that Jayne sells at Mrs. Hudson’s. Gemma’s boyfriend in blue, Ryan Ashburton, arrives on the scene with Detective Louise Estrada. But the suspect list is long, and the case far from elementary. Does Kathy’s killing have any relation to a mysterious death of seven years ago? 

Gemma has no intention of getting involved in the investigation, but when fellow shopkeeper Maureen finds herself the prime suspect she begs Gemma for her help. Ryan knows Gemma’s methods and he isn’t happy when she gets entangled in another mystery. But with so many suspects and so few clues, her deductive prowess will prove invaluable in A Scandal in Scarlet, Vicki Delany’s shrewdly plotted fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.  This one is a winner ( like the other three!)  5 Paws!

The Coloring Crook
Krista Davis
November 25, 2018
four 1/2 paws!

I'm a  huge fan of Krista Davis' two other series, so I was excited to read the first in her new series, Color Me Murder, for Kensington and the second one, THE COLORING CROOK, is just as good!
Life is looking rosy for Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. She’s working on an adult coloring book of gardens, her romance with Sergeant Eric Jonquille has entered a new chapter, and the bookstore’s weekly coloring club is a source of friendship and entertainment. No member is more vibrant than Dolly Cavanaugh. Dolly likes to say she was blessed with beauty and cursed with lousy husbands, but at least she has a grown daughter and a stunning brownstone to show for it!

When Dolly’s love of garage sales results in her showing up at Color Me Read with a rare book in hand, Florrie is astounded. The Florist, the earliest known coloring book, was first published in 1760. An original copy would be worth a fortune—and someone else knows it. That same evening, Florrie finds Dolly dead on the floor of her apartment, a corner of a coloring book page clutched in her hand. As Florrie delves into Dolly’s past and her personal effects, she discovers a skeleton in the closet—literally—and a whole lot of shady suspects. One of them is an expert in the fine art of murder, but can Florrie draw the right conclusion?
Read it and find out!  4 1/2 paws!!!!!

A Cold Brew Killing
Lena Gregory
Lyrical Press
November 2018
Four Paws

This is the third entry in the "All Day Breakfast Cafe" msytery series, which I just discovered!

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . . 
Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something's very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man's troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . . . 

Good mystery for a rainy day!  Gia is an interesting character that readers will enjoy getting to know. Four paws!

Amanda Flower
Magic Garden Mysteries
Crooked Lane
November 13, 2018
four Paws

A favorite author of mine, Amanda Flower, continues her "Magic Garden' series over at Crooked Lane with the second instalment.

Fiona Knox thought she was pulling her life back together when she inherited her godfather’s cottage in Duncreigan, Scotland—complete with a magical walled garden. But the erstwhile Tennessee flower shop owner promptly found herself puddle boot-deep in danger when she found a dead body among the glimmering blossoms. One police investigation later (made a trifle less unpleasant by the presence of handsome Chief Inspector Neil Craig), and Fiona’s life is getting back on a steady, though bewitched, track. Her sister Isla has just moved in with her, and the grand opening of her new spellbound venture, the Climbing Rose Flower Shop in Aberdeenshire, is imminent. 

But dark, ensorcelled clouds are gathering to douse Fiona’s newly sunny outlook. First, imperious parish minister Quaid MacCullen makes it undeniably clear that he would be happy to send Fiona back to Tennessee. Then, a horrific lightning storm, rife with terribly omen, threatens to tear apart the elderly cottage and sends Fi and Isla cowering under their beds. The storm passes, but then, Fi is called away from the Climbing Rose’s opening soiree when Kipling, the tiny village’s weak-kneed volunteer police chief, finds a dead body on the beach. 

The body proves difficult to identify, but Kipling is certain it’s that of the parish minister. Which makes Fiona, MacCullen’s new nemesis, a suspect. And what’s worse, Isla has seemed bewitched as of late…did she do something unspeakable to protect her sister?  Good suspense!  four paws!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST (and there were many more mysteries released this month!)

Stephanie PLum series
GP Putnam Sons
November 13, 2018
four stars

The Stephanie Plum series has been a longtime favorite of mine, and here we are at volume number twenty-five!

There's nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, cole slaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that's been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it's a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they'd better figure out what's going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.

I always enjoy the banter between Stephanie and Lula, but I confess to getting a little tired of Stephanie wafflling between Morelli and Ranger. Make up your mind already!  The  msytery is typical PLum fare, with all the usual suspects present.  Always enjoyable! Four paws!

Win one of ROCCO's review copies!

ROCCO will give one of his review copies of one of the above titles to one lucky commenter. Which one? Well, brother Maxx will choose it at random!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Contest ends  midnight, November 6. US entries only, please. Good luck!


  1. So many good books are coming out! Now to find the time to read them all!
    Thank you for giving away one of your copies.
    I follow you on Facebook, Twitter and I follow your blog.

  2. Wow, Rocco! That's quite a collection!
    We are FB friends and I've linked this to my page
    I visit regularly
    I don't tweet or have a blog
    libbydodd at comcst dot net

  3. Thanks for an awesome giveaway, any of those would be be great. I also follow your blog, your FB and your Twitter. barbie17(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. So many books, so little time. Thanks for the contest. Rocco always does the BEST reviews. I follow your blog by email and also follow on twitter and facebook.

  5. Thanks for the reviews and info on the new releases. Looks like a lot of good reads coming.
    Rocco, I follow your blog and on Twitter, we are friends on Facebook. Shared on Facebook and Twitter.

  6. So many good books to add to the TBR pile. Thank you, ROCCO, for spotlighting these! Marla Bradeen: mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

  7. So many great books here I can't decide which one I'm most excited about.
    Jana - turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com
    Following your blog
    Following you on Twitter
    Tweeted about the contest
    Friends on Facebook
    Mentioned the contest on Facebook

  8. What a great bunch of books coming out. Lots to add to the TBR stack!
    Following your blog and FB friends.

  9. yes back from visiting my son in ca just in time great books out i follow you on facebook and i follow your blog i share when i can get it on facebook love this site a big hello and have a good day ptclayton2(at)aol(dot)com peggy claytoin from Iowa

  10. Thank you for this chance for your giveaway. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

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