Friday, April 19, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - A Twinkle of Trouble (A Fairy Garden Mystery) by Daryl Wood Gerber

My Review

Courtney Kelly owns a fairy garden shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.  She also can see fairies - and has a little fairy friend named Fiona.  When one of her gardening group friends is murdered, and then another dies the same way, she immediately works - with a little fairy help - to solve the mystery.

I wanted to read this book because I love cozy mysteries and I find the Fairy Garden Mystery series delightful!

There is so much to like about this book.  Carmel-by-the-Sea is a charming setting, combining small town charm and a beach.  Courtney is a likable protagonist, and I also liked her relationships with her friends, father, boyfriend, cat Pixie, and fairy friends.

Courtney, the daughter of a retired police detective, is a natural amateur detective.  I especially enjoyed reading about her deductive process which includes using a white board to list clues.  The mystery is well paced with quite a few strong suspects.  

I recommend A Twinkle of Trouble for fans of cozy mysteries ... and especially for readers who enjoy a little whimsy like the fairy storyline in this series.  Gardening enthusiasts will also love the garden details!

Book Synopsis

Carmel-by-the-Sea garden shop owner Courtney Kelly sees things others can’t—like fairies, and hidden motives for murder . . .

Courtney is delighted when her tiny friend Fiona returns from the fairy realm, appearing at the base of a Cypress tree. When her Ragdoll cat, Pixie, emerges from her own portal—aka the cat door—the three set off for a busy day. Busier than usual, since Courtney has rented a small plot of land at the Flower Farm, where she hopes to grow her own supplies for her fairy-garden business. Plus, the annual Summer Blooms Festival is coming up, and Courtney has booked a booth . . .

But the murder of Courtney’s friend, Genevieve, casts a pall over the festival. Ever since Genevieve sold her floral business, she’d been building a career as an influencer. She was perennially opinionated—but in her new role she’d become surprisingly vicious, dissing local entrepreneurs with nasty posts and unwarranted bad reviews. That’s landed a couple of Courtney’s other friends on the suspect list—including Flower Farm owner Daphne Flores. And when a second victim is discovered, seeds of doubt about Daphne’s innocence sprout in Courtney’s mind. With only a germ of a clue, Courtney will have to overturn every rock to get the dirt on the real killer . . .

Author Bio

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling mysteries, including the Fairy Garden Mysteries and Cookbook Nook Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes suspense including the well received The Son’s SecretGirl on the Run, and the popular Aspen Adams series. Recently Daryl, who loves a challenge, published a Christmas romance, Hope for the Holidays. Fun Tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, garden, read, and walk her frisky Goldendoodle. Also she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. You can learn more on her website:

Author Links


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Friday, April 5, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Murder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage by Jessica Fletcher and Terrie Farley Moran

My Review

Jessica Fletcher travels to Edmonton, Canada with some of her Cabot Cove friends.  Her lookalike cousin, Emma MacGill, has traveled from Great Britain to Edmonton to appear in a play there, and Jessica looks forward to a leisurely vacation catching up with her cousin.  When they stumble upon a murder at the theater, Jessica decides to solve the mystery.

I wanted to read Murder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage because I love Murder, She Wrote (both the classic TV series and the wonderful series of mystery novels).  I also was intrigued by the theater setting.

This was such a fun read!  It has a lot going for it: Jessica and friends visiting a new place and exploring the history and culture of Edmonton, a theater setting, lively scenes with Jessica and her cousin Emma, and of course, an interesting mystery to solve.

The mystery aspects of this novel were well done, with events and clues popping up at a lively pace.  The characters were interesting and well rounded.  Jessica and her friends were like old friends - exactly as expected.  The answer to this mystery surprised me, which was fun as well.

I recommend Murder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage - and this entire series - for fans of the Murder, She Wrote TV series, and for anyone who enjoys well written cozy mysteries.

Book Synopsis

The newest entry in the USA Today bestselling Murder, She Wrote series.

Jessica Fletcher’s British cousin, Emma MacGill, will be traveling to Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, to perform with internationally famous star of stage, screen, and television Derek Braverman in an old-fashioned musical review. Emma would love for Jessica to join her there and suggests she bring along some friends. Having just finished her latest book, Jessica is ready for a vacation and is delighted to agree. Dr. Seth Hazlitt and Sheriff Mort Metzger are huge fans of Braverman, so they are eager to tag along, and their fanboy behavior gives Jessica and Mort’s wife, Maureen, more than occasional cause to roll their eyes.

Upon arrival in Edmonton, Jessica is quickly outed as mystery writer J. B. Fletcher, and despite numerous protests, a hotel staffer arranges a book signing for her. This and touristy adventures arranged for the group make for a much busier trip than Jessica was expecting. When a hotel bartender, who also happens to be a stagehand for Emma’s play, turns up dead backstage at the theater, Jessica’s fun and relaxing vacation quickly becomes anything but.

Author Bio

Along with Jessica FletcherTerrie Farley Moran co-writes the Murder She Wrote mystery series including  Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court. She is the author of the Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series and also co-writes the Scrapbooking Mysteries with Laura Childs. Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer Awards, Moran has published numerous mystery short stories. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren.

Author Links – Webpage   Facebook 

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Book Review - Just for the Summer by Melody Carlson

My Review

Just for the Summer is a beach read about two very different women.  Ginny Masters has a high pressure job managing a boutique hotel in Seattle.  Jacqueline Potter manages her grandfather's rustic fishing lodge in Idaho.  Both are unhappy with their lives and sign up at a job swap site.  They swap jobs for the summer - and find a new perspective on life as a result.

I wanted to read this novel because I enjoy Melody Carlson's books.  They never disappoint!

Ginny is a very sympathetic character, hard working and sincere.  She learns to relax and enjoy life more when she goes to work at the fishing lodge that needs a lot of freshening up and new energy.  She also meets a handsome river guide and romantic sparks fly!   Jacqueline is much less sympathetic.  She is someone who loves the finer things in life and she has not wanted to really work for those things in the past.  She is challenged when she goes to work in Seattle at the always busy hotel - with a very demanding boss.  She also encounters a possible romantic match.

This was a fun novel and a fast read.  It would be perfect for a weekend read or as a true beach read.

Book Synopsis

If you lived in a different place and had a different job, couldn't you have a different life?

Ginny Masters manages a popular boutique hotel in Seattle and manages it with aplomb. But the daily challenges and irritations of a fast-paced job and a demanding boss are starting to get to her.

Jacqueline Potter manages her grandfather's fishing lodge in Idaho because it was the only job she could find after graduating with her hospitality degree. She's grateful for the work but longs for a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan life she's just not going to find in this backwoods town.

The solution to both their problems seems obvious. Just for the summer, they'll swap jobs and lifestyles--and even love interests. But they'll soon find that there's more to finding happiness than just switching up the scenery.

Author Bio

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 250 books with sales of more than 7.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, her novel All Summer Long has been made into a Hallmark movie, and the movie based on her novel The Happy Camper premiered on UPtv in 2023. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

Friday, March 29, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Battered and Buried (An All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery) by Lena Gregory

My Review

Gia Morelli owns an all-day breakfast cafe in the small town of Boggy Creek, Florida.  When she goes kayaking with a friend on her day off, they discover a body -- and one of her friends and co-workers is a suspect in the murder.  Gia goes to work with her friend Savannah to solve the mystery.

I wanted to read Battered and Buried because I enjoy Lena Gregory's cozy mystery series.  She is one of my favorite authors in this genre.

I enjoy Gia's sleuthing.  She and Savannah make a great team, even though Gia's fiancé and Savannah's husband are the police detectives in their families.  There are several viable suspects, but Gia does a good job of solving the mystery ... and I enjoyed playing armchair detective to solve along!

As always, the pets in this mystery series add fun -- Thor, a Bernese Mountain dog and Klondike, a rescued kitten.

Gia's fiancé Hunt and her friends are great, and I also like the southern small town atmosphere in this series.

I recommend Battered and Buried for fans of cozy mysteries.  This is a great series!  I try to read all the books in Lena Gregory's All-Day Breakfast Cafe series and her Coffee & Cream Cafe series as well.

Book Synopsis

The best-laid plans may go awry, but the best-laid clues could frame a man for murder . . .

Never one to let a day off work go to waste, café owner Gia Morelli and a friend head out for a blissful kayaking trip through the local national forest. But the peacefulness of the day is soon shattered when they come across Cole, her head cook, standing over a dead body. Worse still, the victim was a lifelong enemy of Cole’s, and clues found on the body point to the cook as the culprit. When the police take Cole in and subject him to an intense grilling, Gia vows to do everything she can to prove his innocence.

As even more incriminating evidence surfaces—including when the murder weapon itself is found hidden at the café—Gia knows she’s up against someone brutal enough to kill and devious enough to frame Cole for the deed. With the police ready to make an official arrest and wrap up what they consider an open-and-shut case, Gia turns for help to an old friend who’s not above breaking the law himself. Because if she can’t find the killer, Cole may go from serving up hot dishes to serving a life sentence . . .

Author Bio

Lena Gregory grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full-time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

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Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – 


Friday, March 22, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Daffodils And Deadly Deeds: A British Cozy Murder Mystery with a Female Amateur Sleuth (A Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery) by Victoria Tait

My Review

Dotty Sayers is staying in Northumberland with one of her friends when she is offered the opportunity to work on an exciting project at the neighboring castle.  When her mentor, an older antique dealer, goes missing, Dotty works to solve the mystery.

I wanted to read Daffodils and Deadly Deeds because I really enjoy this series.  I like the British setting and Dotty's work as an antiques expert.

This was another great read in the Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series.  I liked the little village setting.  Dotty's beloved cat Earl Grey appears in this book and her friend (and possible future love interest) Zach also is part of the story.  As well as working to find out what happened to her mentor, Dotty helps Zach as he hunts for some of his family history, namely a mysterious cottage in the area.

There is a theme of families in this book.  Dotty's mentor, Hazel, had a complicated family with a husband, stepson, and two inattentive adult children.  Dotty also struggles with her father's illness and her relationship with her brother, whom she isn't close to.

I recommend Daffodils and Deadly Deeds for fans of traditional British mysteries and cozy mysteries.  I think this is a wonderful series and am already anticipating reading the next book when it is available.

Book Synopsis

A fraught family reunion. A corpse by the coast. Can an amateur sleuth crack this egg-xtraordinary mystery or be left scrambling for answers?

Spring signifies new beginnings, yet rookie antiques expert, Dotty Sayers, feels uncertain about her future. A colleague’s invitation to Northumberland, in search of hidden family treasure, offers a fresh start. Once there, she immediately befriends her neighbour and assists with a prestigious project at a nearby castle. But when her mentor vanishes, and a body washes up in a secluded cove, Dotty wonders why so many people she knows end up dead.

Determined to assist, this budding amateur detective is hopping mad when the police ignore her insights. With the inquest approaching, Dotty must decide if she’s ready to crack open the case, even if it makes the local police inspector as mad as a March hare.

Can Dotty put aside her doubts and pull a rabbit out of the hat to ensure justice prevails?

Author Bio

Victoria Tait was born and raised in Yorkshire, England.  After following her military husband around the world, she drew on her life’s experiences, and a love of Agatha Christie, Father Brown, and Murder She Wrote, to write British based cozy mysteries.

Her determined female sleuths are joined by colourful and quirky teams of helpers, and her settings are vivid and realistic.  As you’re compelled to keep turning the pages, you’ll be irresistibly drawn into a world where you’ll experience surprises, humour and sometimes, a tug on your heartstrings.

Do you like tea, mysteries, and books? Then why not join Victoria’s TeaCozy Club for regular news and updates, and download the free prequel to the Dotty Sayers Antique Mysteries series as a gift by visiting

Who doesn’t like tea, cake, and a slice of murder!

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