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

Twitter (X)   Goodreads   Pinterest    Instagram     Bookbub    Amazon

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!

Author Links 






Purchase Links – Books2Read   Amazon 


Friday, March 15, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Murder in the Tea Leaves (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

My Review

Theodosia Browning owns a charming little tea shop in Charleston.  When she works on a local movie set, she witnesses a frightening murder as the film's director is electrocuted.  One of her friends is a suspect, and Theodosia steps in to solve the crime - despite all the danger this entails.

I wanted to read Murder in the Tea Leaves because I have enjoyed the books I've read in the Tea Shop Mystery series.  I love the Charleston setting and the tea details.

This was one of my favorite mysteries in this series.  The murder happened early on and the pace of the mystery was brisk.  There were several plausible suspects, and I enjoyed Theodosia's sleuthing.  She is a fun amateur detective.  I also enjoy her relationship with her boyfriend Riley, her friends, and her lovable dog Earl Grey.

As always, I loved the tea shop details, like the Poetry Tea and the Breakfast at Tiffany's Tea.  The foodie descriptions in this series are sublime!

I recommend Murder in the Tea Leaves (and this entire series) for cozy mystery fans, and especially for anyone with an interest in tea or foodie mysteries.

Book Synopsis

When Theodosia Browning reads the tea leaves on the set of the movie, Dark Fortunes, things go from spooky to worse. Lights are dimmed, the camera rolls, and red hot sparks fly as the film’s director is murdered in a tricky electrical accident. 

Or was it an accident? Though the cast and crew are stunned beyond belief, nobody admits to seeing a thing. And when Theodosia’s friend, Delaine, becomes the prime suspect, Theodosia begins her own shadow investigation. But who among this Hollywood cast and crew had murder on their mind? The screenwriter is a self-centered pot head, the leading actress is trying to wiggle out of her contract, the brand new director seems indifferent, and nobody trusts the slippery-when-dry Hollywood agent. 

Between hosting a Breakfast at Tiffany’s Tea, a Poetry Tea, and trying to launch her own chocolate line, Theodosia doggedly hunts down clues and explores the seemingly haunted Brittlebank Manor where the murder took place. And just when she’s ready to pounce, a Charleston Film Board member is also murdered, throwing everything into total disarray. But this clever killer will go to any lengths to hide his misdeeds as Theodosia soon finds out when she and her tea sommelier, Drayton, get caught up in a dangerous stakeout. 


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 takes 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 

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – – PenguinRandomHouse –


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Thursday, March 14, 2024

Book Review - You Stole My Name Too: A Curious Case of Animals and Plants with Shared Names by Dennis McGregor

My Review

You Stole My Name Too is a beautiful picture book for children about plants and animals that share a name.  The book is told in short, child-friendly rhymes, like the story of CatNip:

"Your minty magic, sweet and herby
sends me on a tail-chase derby!
Then I curl up in your lap
and dream a little nippy nap."

Flora/fauna combinations include: Crab-Apple, Ostrich Fern, Elephant Garlic, ChickPea, DogWood, and more.

This is a big (9.5" x 14.5") book with full page illustrations that are sure to delight children.  I think it would be ideal as a read aloud at bedtime or in a story circle.  I love read aloud books that incorporate both rhyme and engaging illustrations.

I highly recommend You Stole My Name Too for preschool children, who are sure to be delighted by this book!

Book Synopsis

The second addition to Dennis McGregor's fun picture book series features vibrant, hand-painted illustrations and curious questions like "why does the crab apple share its name with the crab?"

You Stole My Name Too features another amazing collection of illustrations that takes you and your child on a colorful journey through nature's most fascinating plants and animals and their namesakes.

The fun pairs of flora and fauna that are featured in this sequel
• Chick and Chickpea
• Cat and Catnip
• Dog and Dogwood
• Hedgehog and Hedgehog Cactus
• And many more!

A beautiful "children's coffee-table-art book" for all ages, You Stole My Name Too is a clever, creative follow-up to You Stole My Name , a perfect book series for parents and children to read and enjoy together.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Book Review and Giveaway - Double Scoop of Murder (Coffee & Cream Café Mysteries) by Lena Gregory

My Review
Dani Delany is enjoying running her family malt shop cafe on Long Island when she encounters a mystery.  A local billionaire passes away and leaves a four billion dollar treasure hunt for the community to solve.  Dani gets talked into joining a treasure hunting team with her friends/family but they uncover a murder ... which leads her to investigate.

I wanted to read Double Scoop of Murder because I really enjoyed the last book in the Coffee & Cream Cafe mystery series, and want to continue reading the books in this series.  I like the malt shop setting and the characters.

Dani is a fun detective. She's an amateur, but she has great instincts for sleuthing, and she's smart and brave. I like her friends and family as well (we see more of them in this mystery), and her love triangle with her high school sweetheart and the handsome detective in town.

The mystery aspects of this book were very well done, starting with a slower pace, but then picking up with several good suspects.  I enjoyed watching Dani solve the case!  The treasure hunt was a fun mystery device.

I recommend Double Scoop of Murder, and this series, for cozy mystery fans.  You are in for a treat with the malt shop setting, the fun cast of characters, and a great amateur detective.

Book Synopsis

From author Lena Gregory comes a hunt for more than just treasure…

Danika Delany is loving running her uncle’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island and putting her own modern spin on the treats they serve. Life is finally looking up for her! That is, until local billionaire Maxwell Crumbholtz dies and leaves his fortune in the form of a treasure hunt. Chaos descends on Watchogue, and Dani and the rest of the gang from the Coffee & Cream Café join the melee when they enter the contest, try to decipher the clues, and go in search of the treasure. But Dani digs up more than she expected when she discovers a dead body buried instead of a treasure! To make matters worse, a witness claims to have seen Dani at the scene of the murder. Now, instead of a four-billion-dollar payday, Dani is on the hunt for a killer.

Author Bio

Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest, the Mini-Meadows Mysteries, set in a community of tiny homes in Central Florida, and the Coffee & Cream Café Mysteries, which take place in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, New York.

Lena 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

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo 


Friday, March 1, 2024

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

My Review
Murder in Masquerade is a historical mystery about Amelia Amesbury, a young Victorian widow who has a secret sideline as an agony aunt with a newspaper column.  Amelia works to help her friend (and possible romantic interest) Simon Bainbridge.  Simon's younger sister has developed an interest in a suitor that the family doesn't approve of.  After that suitor is killed, the mystery deepens, and Amelia decides to investigate.

I wanted to read this mystery because I enjoyed the first book in this series so much.  I love the Victorian setting and really like Amelia as an amateur detective.

This book started a little slower for me but it soon picked up momentum and I eagerly read on, looking for a resolution to the mystery, but also enjoying Amelia and Simon's budding relationship.  

The author does a wonderful job in this series with setting the scene and creating a cast of interesting, well developed characters.

I recommend Murder in Masquerade for fans of historical mysteries, cozy mysteries, the Victorian era, and British manor house settings.

Book Synopsis
Extra, extra, read all about it! Countess turned advice columnist Amelia Amesbury finds herself playing the role of sleuth when a night at the theatre turns deadly.

Victorian Countess Amelia Amesbury’s secret hobby, writing an advice column for a London penny paper, has gotten her into hot water before. After all, Amelia will do whatever it takes to help a reader in need. But now, handsome marquis Simon Bainbridge desperately requires her assistance. His beloved younger sister, Marielle, has written Amelia’s Lady Agony column seeking advice on her plans to elope with a man her family does not approve of. Determined to save his sister from a scoundrel and the family from scandal, Simon asks Amelia to dissuade Marielle from the ill-advised gambit.

But when the scoundrel makes an untimely exit after a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto, Amelia realizes there’s much more at stake than saving a young woman’s reputation from ruin. It’s going to take more than her letter-writing skills to help the dashing marquis, mend the familial bond, and find the murderer. Luckily, solving problems is her specialty!

Author Bio
Mary Winters is the author of the Lady of Letters historical mystery series. She also writes cozy mysteries under the name Mary Angela. A longtime reader and fan of historical fiction, 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, reading, and teaching at

Author Links

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – BAM – – Powell’s Books – Hudson Booksellers