Friday, March 31, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - Murder in Postscript (A Lady of Letters Mystery) by Mary Winters

My Review

Murder in Postscript is a historical mystery set in 1860 London.  Countess Amelia Amesbury is a young widow and guardian to her 10 year old niece, Winifred. She is just finishing a two year mourning period when she meets her husband's friend, Simon Bainbridge, a marquis. Amelia has a secret that no one but her best friend, Kitty, and friend/editor, Grady know -- she writes a Lady Agony column for the newspaper.  When she receives a letter from a reader that is not a request for advice but a plea for help, she becomes involved in a mystery which includes several murders and many adventures through London and the countryside. She is assisted in detecting by her friend Kitty and her new friend Simon.

I wanted to read this novel because I love historical fiction and also love cozy mysteries.  This mystery combines both genres!

Murder in Postscript is such a strong start to a new series. It is fast paced and the mystery is compelling. There are several possible suspects, and Amelia does a wonderful job of detecting as a new amateur sleuth.  

I enjoyed Amelia's friendship with Kitty and with Grady, and especially her new friendship with possible romantic interest Simon. He is so charming, handsome, and swoon-worthy -- especially as they banter back and forth throughout the book.

The writing is strong, with fascinating historical details.  I had heard of agony columns before but this book gives a new, very interesting, insight into them through Amelia's writing work.

I am delighted that Murder in Postscript is the start of a new series. This series is sure to be one of my favorites, as it combines so much that I enjoy in historical mysteries.  I cannot recommend this mystery highly enough for fans of cozy mysteries, historical fiction, Victorian settings, and lively storytelling.  Five enthusiastic stars!

Book Synopsis 

When one of her readers asks for advice following a suspected murder, Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, who secretly pens the popular Lady Agony column, has no choice but to investigate in this first book in a charming new historical mystery series.

Amelia Amesbury—widow, mother, and countess—has a secret. Amelia writes for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners under the pen name Lady Agony. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered—and then ends up a victim herself—Amelia is determined to solve the case. With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting. From London’s docks and ballrooms to grand country houses, Amelia tracks a killer, putting her reputation—and her life—on the line.

Author Bio

Mary Winters is the author of Murder in Postscript, the debut novel in A Lady of Letters Mystery series. A longtime reader of historical fiction and an author of two other mystery series, Mary set her latest work in Victorian England after being inspired by a trip to London. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip! Find out more about Mary and her writing at

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Book Review - Second Time Around by Melody Carlson

My Review

Mallory Farrell is a successful interior designer, divorced with grown children. When she suddenly inherits her grandmother's little tourist shop in coastal Oregon, her life changes.  Mallory visits the shop and decides she would like to move there. She has plans to renovate the old, somewhat ramshackle building, putting a home decor shop downstairs and living in the small apartment upstairs.  After moving she meets her teen crush from years ago, Grayson Mathews, and finds sparks are still there - although he wants to tear down the older shops and put in a multi-use development mall.  Mallory struggles with her feelings for Grayson and also with a renovation project that has one surprise after another.

I wanted to read this novel because I love Melody Carlson's books.  Her women's fiction reads like the very best Hallmark movies, with relatable protagonists and charming characters (often in small town settings).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  I read it in just a couple of days because I couldn't put it down;  if I had spare time, I was reading Second Time Around.  

Mallory is a very likable character -- I felt for her moving back to a place she loved through her childhood, wanting to make a success with a new shop there.  Grayson is also likable, although they initially have very different life goals.  Their romance starts slowly, as a friendship, with some twists and turns.

There are also many twists and turns with the renovations of Mallory's shop and apartment upstairs.  I love HGTV shows that focus on renovating old homes or buildings, so loved the details in this book.  

I recommend Second Time Around for fans of small town fiction, home renovation stories, women's fiction, and sweet romance.  (Please check out Melody Carlson's other books too - they are delightful!)

Book Synopsis

Who doesn't love a second chance?

When Mallory Farrell inherits her grandmother's run-down tourist shop in Portside, Oregon, she knows selling it is the only sensible thing to do. The place holds treasured memories for her, but it would take a fortune to restore it.

But when she learns that her childhood crush, Grayson Matthews, wants to buy the building to redevelop the funky town's business district into a soulless, cookie-cutter outdoor mall, Mallory digs in her heels. With a lot of hard work and a little bit of help, she is sure she can renovate the property herself.

Though Mallory makes incredible progress turning the store into an eclectic home decor shop, she's heartbroken when an exciting opportunity turns into a guaranteed nightmare. Should she surrender her dreams to Grayson's bulldozers? Or is there a future for both of them in this charming seaside town?

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 24, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - A Flicker of a Doubt (A Fairy Garden Mystery) by Daryl Wood Gerber

My Review

Courtney Kelly owns a fairy gardening business, creating delightful fairy gardens while she communicates with some real live fairies. When her best friend, Meaghan's, ex-boyfriend is killed, Courtney works to solve the mystery. She is helped by her little fairy friend Fiona.

I wanted to read this book because I love cozy mysteries.  I have seen fairy gardens and find them charming, and the idea of fairies being actual characters in this book was intriguing to me.  I have not read the previous books in this series but had no problem enjoying A Flicker of a Doubt as a standalone mystery.  (That said, I now do want to read the rest of the series!)

This is such a unique cozy mystery.  I really liked Courtney and especially her fairy friends, who brought an element of whimsey to this mystery.  

A Flicker of a Doubt is an intriguing mystery with a number of viable suspects, and I enjoyed following along as Courtney worked to solve the mystery.  I enjoyed the art world setting.

A small note, but I really loved the little fairy quotes and lines of poetry that started each chapter.  They added a lot to the book for me!

This was a fun read and a real change of pace for me.  I recommend A Flicker of a Doubt for fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who is intrigued by fairy gardens or who likes whimsical elements in storytelling.

Book Synopsis

Fairies are trending hard, especially when it comes to fairy garden décor in Walmart and Target and on Amazon. The latest installment in the nationally bestselling Daryl Wood Gerber’s Fairy Garden mysteries is a perfect read for Laura Childs readers and all fans of whimsy and charm.  

With a theater foundation tea and an art show planned at Violet Vickers’s estate, Courtney is hired to create charming fairy gardens for the event. It’s not so charming, however, when her best friend Meaghan’s ex-boyfriend turns out to be Violet’s latest artistic protégé.  Even worse, not long after Meaghan locks horns with him, his body is found in her yard, bludgeoned with an objet d’murder.  

There’s a gallery of suspects, from an unstable former flame to an arts and crafts teacher with a sketchy past. But when the cops focus on Meaghan’s business partner, who’s like a protective older brother to her, and discover he also has a secret financial motive, Courtney decides to draw her own conclusions. Fearing they’re missing the forest for the trees, and with some help from Fiona the sleuthing fairy, she hopes to make them see the light . . .

Author Bio

Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Fairy Garden Mysteries, Cookbook Nook Mysteries, and French Bistro Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense as well as stand-alone suspense. Daryl loves to cook, fairy garden, and read. She has a frisky Goldendoodle who keeps her in line. And she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and hitch-hike around Ireland alone. You can learn more on her website: httsp://

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Friday, March 17, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - Lemon Curd Killer (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

My Review

Theodosia Browning, who owns a Charleston tea shop, is hosting an event tea in a lemon orchard when she discovers an unpleasant guest has been murdered. She sets about to solve the mystery, with the help of her friend and tea sommelier, Drayton.

I wanted to read this novel because of the Charleston setting, and the tea/foodie emphasis.  I have read several books in this series, but not all, but found Lemon Curd Killer worked fine as a standalone mystery.

The thing I love most about this series is how immersive it is.  Laura Childs does such a wonderful job at setting the scene in Charleston, and at the tea shop.

If you are a foodie, you will absolutely love the food descriptions in this book, like: 

“It’s lovely to see all of you today for our springtime Irish Cream Tea— and I do thank you for coming. Since you’re probably eager for lunch— and to see what our chef has dreamed up— I’m delighted to give you the rundown.” There was a spatter of applause and then Theodosia continued. “Today’s luncheon will begin with Irish soda scones served with Irish creamery butter and your choice of strawberry preserves or orange marmalade. The scones will be followed by a bowl of house -made potato-leek soup. For our main course, we’ll be serving baked brown sugar salmon with sides of caramelized asparagus and heritage tomato salad. And the tea you’re sipping right now is Irish Breakfast Tea from Simpson and Vail.” (eBook location 2633).

Theodosia is a determined amateur detective (and she's very brave, venturing out late at night looking for clues!). There were several strong suspects and I was surprised to see who the killer actually was.

I recommend Lemon Curd Killer and the Tea Shop Mystery series, for fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who has an interest in Charleston, tea, or wonderful foodie details.

Book Synopsis

High tea and high fashion turn deadly in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

Tea shop entrepreneur Theodosia Browning has been tapped to host a fancy Limón Tea in a genuine lemon orchard as a rousing kickoff to Charleston Fashion Week. But as fairy lights twinkle and the scent of lemon wafts among the tea tables, the deadly murder of a fashion designer puts the squeeze on things.

As the lemon curd begins to sour, the murdered woman’s daughter begs Theodosia to help find the killer. Tea events and fashion shows must go on, however, which puts Theodosia and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, right in the thick of squabbling business partners, crazed clothing designers, irate film producers, drug deals, and a disastrous Tea Trolley Tour.


Author Bio

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop MysteriesScrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. 

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:  

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.  

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here! 

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:   Website –  Facebook 

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Friday, March 10, 2023

Book Review - To Win Her Hand by Jen Geigle Johnson

My Review

To Win Her Heart is the first book in the new series A Gentleman's Match. It is a historical novel set in Regency period England, about a matchmaker - Lord Featherstone - who falls in love with another matchmaker - Lady Loveluck. They both feel they need to make a wealthy match, but will they find a way to be together?

I wanted to read this novel because I love historical fiction and especially enjoy the Regency period.

This book was a pure delight!  It is a fast paced, light historical romance with charming and witty repartee.  I really liked both Lord Featherstone and Lady Loveluck. Seeing them work as matchmakers was fascinating and then seeing them navigate their own romantic life was even more interesting!

There was a wonderful long sequence when Lord Featherstone was coaching a male client and Lady Loveluck was talking to a female client. Their advice was often at odds: 

"Lord Featherstone looked into Mr. Hartsworth’s spyglass. 'Vulnerable. But you must never lose control.' 

Lady Loveluck toyed with a feather behind Miss Anna’s head. 'We must get him to lose control. He has to want your heart more than his own breath.'" (eBook location 169)

The secondary characters (their clients and friends) were also interesting.  I especially liked the long section of the book set at a house party in the country.  So much was going on at once at that party!  All along I was pulling for our leads to find a way to get together.

I already look forward to reading the upcoming books in this series (I am wondering if they might center around Lord Featherstone's brothers?).  I enthusiastically recommend To Win Her Hand for fans of historical romance, and especially for anyone who likes a clever, well written Regency story.

Book Synopsis

An expert at winning a woman's hand. A woman who cannot be won.

Lord Featherstone has the world on his shoulders. Or at least his world. With two brothers and a failing estate he must make funds somehow. But what happens when he falls for a woman? Will his tactics work when the situation is so close and personal?

Everyone thinks Lady Loveluck is a wealthy widow. What they don't know is that she is on the brink of hiring herself out as a Governess in order to pay for her next meal. The only thing keeping her from employment is a growing reputation as a matchmaker. As long as she never falls for another man, as long as she doesn't allow herself to be fooled into marrying, she will be just fine.

But she never counted on being caught up in the beguiling tactics of London's renowned and not so secret matchmaker for men.

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Author Bio

Jen Geigle Johnson is an award-winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards and LDSPMA Praiseworthy's top award for Romance, Jen has more stories circulating in her brain than can possibly be told. She discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. History is her main jam. Her literary heroes include the greats: Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. But she has modern sensibilities as well.  

Six children and an inspiring husband keep her going and make certain she doesn't stay glued to a keyboard or lost in obscure fascinating details of old castles.  

Now, she loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure.


Friday, March 3, 2023

Book Review and Giveaway - No Small Murder (Mini Meadows Mystery) by Lena Gregory

My Review

Emma Wells specializes in helping people downsize from their large homes to smaller dwellings. She lives in a tiny house in Mini Meadows with her cat Ginger.  Then all at once, things change when her Granny Rose comes for an extended stay, a downsizing client is murdered, and Granny Rose adopts the late client's Great Dane. Emma decides to be an amateur sleuth and work to solve the murder, with the help of her grandmother and friends.

I wanted to read this book because I love cozy mysteries and am fascinated by tiny houses. The addition of a cat and dog to the book is another nice perk.

No Small Murder is a fun start to a new series. Readers will get to know Emma, her grandmother, and her friends - as well as see the beginning of a potential romance for her (and maybe even one for her grandmother as well).

I loved the Mini Meadows setting. The little adjacent town even has tiny businesses, and residents travel to and from town in golf carts!  This book made me even more intrigued about the idea of spending time in a tiny house community.

The mystery aspects of the book were interesting, and there was a surprising twist to the murder.

I recommend No Small Murder for fans of cozy mysteries, and especially for anyone who has an interest in tiny houses.

Book Synopsis

Mini Meadows, a Tiny Home community in rural Central Florida, is home to Emma Wells, a downsize specialist who left her daddy’s mansion and her inheritance behind in favor of a simpler, more peaceful life in a tiny home that was once two shipping containers. But when she opens a shipping container and discovers her dead client sitting in a rocking chair, neatly wrapped and labeled, and two of her friends end up on the suspect list, Emma pitches in to help find the killer. With plenty of clues to unpack, Emma narrows down the suspect list, but as she begins to close in on the culprit, she realizes if she’s not careful she could end up in a box of her own.

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.

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