Monday, March 15, 2021

ROCCO reviews Haunted Hibiscus (and Laura Childs does a FAST FIVE)

 Meow! Today I'm reviewing Laura Child's latest entry in the Tea Shop Mysteries, HAUNTED HIBISCUS!

Haunted Hibiscus

a tea shop mystery

Laura Childs

Berkley hardcover

March 2, 2021

Five Stars


Tea maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.

Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers.

But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow's body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia's boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow's apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.

Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley's assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow's book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others.

But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.

ROCCO's review:

Who can resist a Halloween murder mystery?  Once again, a very pleasing entry in a spectacular series.  Theo wades through her list of suspects with her usual aplomb, with Drayton as her trusty sidekick.  There are plenty of twists and turns to satisfy even the pickiest reader, and as usual an ending you dont see coming.  We would like to add that Theo has vastly improved in the wardrobe destruction department as well.  A Five Paw tale (tail?).

ROCCO’S Fast Five for Haunted Hibiscus

by Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author

What’s your favorite part of the day?

Late afternoon when the sun starts to slant in my office window. That’s when I get

my second wind and the ideas flow more easily. Maybe because it feels like the

pressure’s off, maybe because it suits my circadian rhythm.

What do you like to do to celebrate when you finish writing a book?

I kind of hate to admit this, but I don’t celebrate. Crazy at it sounds, if I finish a

book in the morning, I start a new one that afternoon. Compulsive, huh?

What food do you wish was calorie free?

Chocolate is my dark master. I’m addicted to chocolate covered peanuts, boxes of

Godiva, chocolate walnut fudge . . . well, you get the idea.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I adored the Sign of the Twisted Candles. It was a Nancy Drew Mystery that had

everything I love – spooky old inn, quirky characters, tantalizing crime, and three

BFFs out to solve a mystery.

What’s something that’s always in your refrigerator?

Diet Coke. I can’t get moving in the morning without a can of Diet Coke. And

though nutritionists would call me crazy, I feel it’s genuinely good for you. If

you’re hot, it cools you down. If you’re feeling crumby it settles your stomach.

And when you’re tired that little jolt of caffeine picks you right up!

Thank you, Laura!

Laura Childs will give away a signed copy of Haunted HIbiscus to one lucky commenter! to enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section below. US entries only, please.  Winner will be chosen using Contest ends midnight, March 28.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

ROCCO's March Cozy reviews!

 Meow, it's time for our March cozy reviews!





MARCH 2 2021


A Game of Cones

Abby Collette

Ice Cream Parlor Mystery

Berkley - Trade paperback

March 2, 2021

Four 1/2 paws

Bronwyn Crewse is delighted that Crewse Creamery, the ice cream shop her family has owned for decades, is restored to its former glory and serving sweet frozen treats to happy customers in the picturesque small town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. But when a big city developer comes to town intent on building a mall, a killer with a frozen heart takes him out.
 After literally stumbling across the body, one of Win’s closest friends becomes the prime suspect, and to make things worse, Win’s aunt has come to town with the intention of taking command of Crewse Creamery. Even though Win has a rocky road ahead to help her friend and keep her ice cream shop, it'll take more than a sprinkle of murder to stop her from solving the crime and saving the day.

Who doens't love ice cream, especially when it's connected to a mystery!!!!  Good second entry in this series!





MARCH 9, 2021

Five Paws

Lana Lee returns for another delectable cozy set in a Chinese restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio in Vivien Chien's Fatal Fried Rice

Lana Lee runs her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village like nobody’s business. When it comes to actual cooking, however, she’s known to be about a step up from boiling rice. So Lana decides to go to culinary school on the sly—and prove that she has what it takes in the kitchen after all. But when course instructor Margo Chan turns up dead after class, Lana suddenly finds herself on the case, frying pan in hand.

Since she was the one who discovered the body, Lana must do double duty in finding the killer and clearing her name. Now, with or without the help of her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana launches her own investigation into Margo’s life and mysterious death. Doing so leads her on a wild goose chase to and from the culinary school—and all the way back to the Ho-Lee noodle shop, where the guilty party may be closer than Lana thinks.

We love this series!  Every time i read one, the descriptions of the food make my mouth water!  And the mystery isn't bad either LOL.  Lana's foray into cooking doens't turn out too well, and as usual she's on the receiving end of a body discovery, much to the dismay of her main squeeze, Detective Adam Trudeau.  Watching Lana chase down clues is part of the fun of reading the book!  A definite five paw page turner!


A cozy capers mystery

Maddie Day


March 30, 2021

Four and a half paws

Cape Cod bicycle shop owner Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida and her mystery book club find a certain accusation of murder quite the stretch . . .
When your mother is an astrologist and your dad is a minister, you learn to keep an open mind. Which is just what Mac loves to do—exercise her mind by puzzling out fictional clues in the mystery novels she reads and discusses with her Cozy Capers Book Group.
But now Mac’s friend Gin has found herself in a sticky situation. After wealthy genealogist Beverly Ruchart is found dead outside Gin’s taffy shop, the candy maker becomes a person of interest. When it’s revealed that Beverly was poisoned the night Gin brought a box of taffy to a dinner party at Beverly’s house, she’s bumped to the top of the suspects list. It’s up to Mac and her Cozy Capers crime solvers to unwrap this real-life mystery. But this time they might have bitten off more than they can chew . . .

Interesting series with good characters!  Looking forward to more.

Monday, March 1, 2021








The fight for freedom has sent Matt Drake to some of the world's most dangerous spots. This time the war is coming to his front door.

Broad daylight on an Austin, Texas, street and DIA operative Matt Drake is fighting for his life against a highly trained team of assassins. Who are they? Why do they want him dead? How will he protect those closest to him?

The answers will take him into some of the most dangerous spots in the Middle East and will put him in the clutches of an old foe known simply as the Devil. It's a world of double crosses, with no boundaries between the guilty and the innocent. It will take all of Drake's wiles to get out alive.

Editorial Reviews


"[D]evoted action fans, will be right at home. All can benefit from Drake's insider tips: get military pepper spray if you can; the commercial stuff is a powder puff."—Booklist

About the Author

Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, and while deployed in Afghanistan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with "V" device for valor. Following his time in the military, Don worked as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.