Friday, September 18, 2020

ROCCO reviews Anna Gerard's PEACHY SCREAM

Meow! Today I'm reviewing PEACHY SCREAM, second in the Georgia B&B mystery series by Anna Gerard.


The Plot:

t's nothing short of inevitable that Cymbeline, GA, hosts an annual Shakespeare festival. But stage-struck Nina Fleet is about to learn that putting on an amateur theatrical production can be murder. Nina's anticipating showbiz glamour and glitz when a community Shakespearean troupe arrives for a two-week stay at her B&B. But the lights dim when she learns the company's director is her nemesis, struggling actor Harry Westcott--who still claims to be the rightful heir to Nina's elegant Queen Anne home.

Meanwhile, the troupe members are not content to leave the drama upon the stage. Accusations of infidelity and financial malfeasance make a shambles of rehearsals. And then, two days into the troupe's stay, the lead actor is found dead in Nina's formal Shakespeare garden. Natural causes...or murder most foul?

Nina uncovers evidence that something is indeed rotten in the town of Cymbeline. Too bad Harry is the only one who believes that she's not going completely off script. And exposing the truth isn't easy when the remaining troupe members say the show must go on...particularly when all of them seemingly had a motive for wanting their fellow actor to permanently exit stage right. Determined to keep the killer from making a curtain call, Nina and her trusty Australian Shepherd, Matilda, join forces with Harry to sleuth out the murder plot. 

ROCCO's Rating:  Four and a half Paws!!!!!!

ROCCO's Review:  

I have been a fan of this author’s since her Black Cat Bookshop series (written under the name of Ali Brandon) so I was anxious to give this new series a try.  I enjoyed the first in the series, Peach Clobbered, and looked forward to the second, Peachy Scream with much anticipation.

I was not disappointed.

Nina Fleet owns a B&B in Cymbeline, Georgia. She welcomes a Shakespearean troupe into her B&B, but considers throwing them out when she learns her nemesis, Harry Westcott, is directing the play.  She's not looking forward to dealing with him again, but unless she wants to ruin the festival, there's no way to turn them out.

Once everyone is settled it’s not long before Len March, who is playing the lead in the production of Hamlet, establishes himself as a real PITA.  Following several pranks on the players, Len is found dead in Nina’s garden. At first everyone assumes it was natural causes, until Nina finds the champagne glass Len was drinking out of.  That, plus another member of the troupe falling ill convince Nina foul play is afoot.  She reluctantly enlists Harry’s aid, and Harry assigns her to work as an extra in the play so she can keep an eye on things before someone else turns up dead.

I am a big fan of Ms. Gerard’s writing style and enjoyed this book as much as I did the first.  The only reason it got 4 ½ stars instead of five is because I guessed the killer and the motive early on. Anna Gerard always delivers a sound mystery with interesting characters that you find yourself caring about, and that’s the main thing!!!!!!  Definitely looking forward to Number Three.

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Friday, September 4, 2020


Here are my cozy reviews for September!

Library Lover's Mystery
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Hardcover
September 1, 2020
five stars

Love is in the air in Briar Creek as library director Lindsey Norris and boat captain Mike (Sully) Sullivan are finally tying the knot. The entire town is excited for the happy day, and Lindsey and Sully's plan for a small wedding evaporates as more and more people insist upon attending the event of the year.   

When Lindsey and her crafternoon pals head out to Bell Island to see if it can accommodate the ever-expanding guest list, they are horrified to discover a body washed up on the rocky shore. Even worse, Lindsey recognizes the man as the justice of the peace who was supposed to officiate her wedding ceremony. When it becomes clear he was murdered, Lindsey can't help but wonder if it had to do with the wedding. Now she has to book it to solve the mystery before it ends her happily ever after before it's even begun....

I am a big fan of this series and of Lindsey Norris! She gets better with each adventure!  So happy that they finally made it to the altar!!!!!!  Even if you have not read the others (I haven't read them all either) it's easy to pick up.  five paws!!!!!

A magical cats mystery
Sofie Kelly
Penguin group; hardcover
September 1, 2020
five stars

A reality TV crew has come to town and brought librarian Kathleen Paulson and her two magical cats more than their fair share of real-life drama, in the newest installment of this New York Times bestselling series.

Spring has come to charming Mayville Heights, and with it, some Hollywood glamour. The little town is abuzz because the reboot of a popular baking TV show is filming there. Librarian Kathleen Paulson is working as an advisor on historical facts for the show, local restaurants are providing catering for the camera crews, and Kathleen's faithful felines, Hercules and Owen, are hoping there is a cat treat challenge.

But then Kathleen finds one of the judges dead. She has solved many-a-murder with help from the supernaturally gifted Herc and Owen, and with the whole town on tenterhooks, the talented trio will have to have all paws on deck to chase down this killer.

No one is a bigger fan of this great series than I.  Imagine having not only one magical cat, but two!!!  Owen and Hercules are in top form as usual!!!!!!!  And Kathleen isn't bad either.  Fans of this series will love it!!!  and new fans will too!!!  Five paws up!!!!!!!!

A.M. Stuart
  • Series: A Harriet Gordon Mystery (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (September 15, 2020)
  • Trade Paperback
  • Four stars
  this is the second in the Harriet Gordon series. The series is set in 1910 and features Harriet Gordon as a sort of Jessica Fletcher, aided by inspector Robert Curran. to be honest I'm not much on period pieces but t his one  is definitely worth a look! four paws.

Vivien Chien
Noodle Shop Mysteries
St. Martin's Paperbacks
August 25, 2020
Five stars

Is life at the Ho-Lee Noodle House becoming too hot to handle?

Lana Lee’s plate is already plenty full. Running her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village is challenging on the best of days. But just when Lana thinks she might be able to catch her breath before the weekend―which she’s eager to spend with her equally overworked boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau―Lana witnesses a car accident in the parking lot. And now she has no choice but to get involved.

June Yi, of Yi’s Tea and Bakery, is a serious businesswoman well-known for her heartlessness. But June meets her match when she rear-ends the Cadillac belonging to Mah Jong lover Mildred “Millie” Mao. As each woman curses―and threatens―the other, it becomes clear to Lana that trouble lies ahead. Still, who could have imagined that Millie would end up dead at the beauty salon? The evidence suggests that she was electrocuted while having a foot bath, and all eyes are on June. Can Lana find a way to solve this case before another fatality occurs in Asia Village?

We love Chinese food and we love this series!  Lana Lee is sassy and nosy, just the type of person you'd want investigating a murder!  Can't wait for the next one, and we wish Vivien Chien all the best.  Five Paws.

Alison Brooke
Haunted Library Mystery
Crooked Lane; Hardcover
September 8, 2020
Four stars

Daphne Marriott strolls into Clover Ridge and informs librarian Carrie Singleton that she's a psychic. But had she foreseen what fate awaited her, Daphne would have steered clear of the quaint Connecticut town. Evelyn, the library ghost, tells Carrie that there's more to Daphne than she lets on.

The mysterious woman grew up in Clover Ridge with her no-good dad, who apparently met his end at the hands of Daphne's brother, Billy. Still, Daphne proves a welcome distraction when Carrie's overbearing mother hits town. Mom's much younger husband, Tom, is in a movie that's lensing locally, and she's there to keep an eye on him: Tom's costar, sultry Ilana Reingold, is also his ex-fiancée, and there's no denying the chemistry is still there. Soon after mingling with the moviemakers at a meet-and-greet, Daphne is found dead.

Carrie and Evelyn investigate, assisted by bushy-tailed library cat Smoky Joe. But the suspect list could overflow the library shelves. Has Billy killed another relative? Is their long-missing mother involved? Or Daphne's mean ex-husband? Carrie's sure she knows who committed the crime, but can she bind together the clues before the culprit Dewey-decimates the town? Four paws!!!!

Win ROCCO's review copy!

Want to win one of ROCCO's review copies?  Leave your name and email address in our comments section!  Brother Maxx will select one name at random to win one of these books!  Contest ends midnight, September 18th.  US entries only please.  :)  Entries without an email addy will be disqualified.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020


tONI, the human here!

It's been a year since the release of THE TIME FOR MURDER IS MEOW, the first Pet Shop Mystery. Since KILLERS OF A FEATHER, Pet Shop #2, will be debuting from Beyond the Page Publishing in 2021, I thought I'd take this opportunity to refresh everyone's memories of Shell, Gary, and, of course, Purrday!

To save their pet shop, Shell and her two furry sidekicks must cat-ch a killer
Crishell "Shell" McMillan sees the cancellation of her TV series as a blessing in disguise. The former actress can now take over her late aunt's pet shop, the Purr N' Bark, and do something she loves.
While getting the shop ready for re-opening, Shell is asked to loan her aunt's Cary Grant posters to the local museum for an exhibit. She finds the prospect exciting―until a museum board member, who had a long-standing feud with Shell's aunt, votes against it. When she discovers the board member dead in the museum, Shell becomes suspect number one. Can she, her Siamese cat Kahlua, and her new sidekick―her aunt's Persian Purrday―find the real culprit, or will her latest career go up in kitty litter?
"[A] buoyant start to a new series ... Fans of feline mysteries will relish The Time for Murder is Meow's pet shop framework in this story of finding one's second act."―Foreword Reviews
"[An] entertaining series debut. ... Feline-loving cozy fans will be satisfied"―Publishers Weekly

Shell McMillan is busy making plans for the grand re-opening of her Aunts Pet Shop, the Purr N Bark, and getting more frustrated by the minute.  Not only has the band she hired bugged out on her, but the fortune telling parrot that she hired has flown the coop – literally.  Seems the bird flew off when his cage was being cleaned.  Fortunately her ex co-star, Gary Presser, has found a substitute parrot.  And fortune seems to smile on her when a man wanders into her store and turns out to have a lovely singing voice.  Shell hires him on the spot, but later regrets her actions when she learns that the man is Johnny Draco, an investment counselor who left town years ago after swindling several people out of a good deal of money, one of them being Shell’s pal Rita.
The day of the grand opening Shell sees Rita arguing with Johnny in the town square.  Later on, the parrot tells Draco’s fortune.  He pulls out a card that has the Ace of Spades on it and one word - BEWARE.  Draco scoffs at it, calling the parrot a fake, and  leaves.  Later on, Shell and her cats, Purrday and Kahlua end up finding Johnny’s dead body.
With Rita and her husband the prime suspects, and both without alibis, Shell knows she has to work double time to convince her crush, Detective Josh Bloodgood, of their innocence.   As the evidence mounts up against Rita, Shell, along with Purrday and Kahlua, delve into Johnny’s past in an attempt to clear her friend-and expose a murderer before someone else suffers a similar fate.

Watch for details of release date here and on my website,