Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SELF SERVE MURDER by @denaehaggerty cosy #Mystery #wwwblogs

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Self Serve Murder by Dena Haggerty

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As well as being a grad student and working part time at the local youth centre, Kristie Larson helps out as a barista at Callie’s Cakes. When she finds herself in bed one morning with a man she doesn’t know, and soon realises is dead, dazed and shocked she calls her best friend Anna. Kristie has no memory of the previous night, the man or how he ended up at her house, much less in her bed. She and her two friends, Callie and Anna, and their police detective boyfriends, Logan and Ben, begin to unravel the mystery and find out more than they bargained for.

Kristie is cleared of involvement in the death; tests prove she had been drugged and hers wasn’t the first case of this happening. There has been a string of date rapes on the college campus, all with the same approach, and although Kristie comes across as quite diffident and unassuming she’s determined to root out the perpetrator. After accessing a forum dedicated to assault victims and connecting with an online member, she’s in for quite a shock when she finally meets ‘Alex’.

Kristie has depth, tact and is a coffee addict. She’s also keeping a secret from her friends. I enjoyed learning about her life and connection and commitment to the Youth Centre. The three women have a great relationship and are always there for each other. Kristie is easy to like and not as over the top as the other two – Anna, the pink haired pixie and know it all Callie, aka the troublesome twosome.

Reading the previous books would probably have given me a deeper understanding of, and the dynamics between, the characters but having said that I did get a good idea of the personalities. Self-Serve Murder can definitely be read as a standalone. The storyline is emotional given the subject matter, written well and sympathetically, the humour in the appropriate places, and with a suitably creepy and repellent villain.

Told in the first person from Kristie’s perspective, Self-Serve Murder is entertaining, with likeable, sometimes ditzy, female protagonists. I wasn’t too sure about the men. I found Tyler irritating with his continual use of ‘baby’ when talking to Kristie and the insta-love aspect was too much too soon. All three men were a bit too alpha for me….shades of quite assertive cavemen types.

Self-Serve Murder is a cozy mystery with a dark undercurrent which is shockingly all too true. The figure of over 11% of college students subjected to rape on college campuses is correct. And although this is a fun, lighthearted tale the subject of rape is treated very seriously.

Book Description
Book 3 in the Death by Cupcake series. Can be read as a standalone.

Kristie is kind with a capital K, so it’s quite the surprise when she wakes up next to a dead man with no recollection of the previous night. Even worse? She’s naked. Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Callie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues Callie and Anna. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that. 

Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. You are most welcome, but you may need to serve yourself as our barista Kristie is busy trying to save the world. 

Warning: Although there are plenty of moments that will make you shake your head and laugh at the antics of the ladies of Callie’s Cakes, the subject matter – rape on college campuses – is very real and somewhat darker than your usual cozy mystery.

About the author
D.E. Haggerty
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage, every once in a while, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I decided to follow the husband to Istanbul for a few years where I managed to churn out book after book. But ten years was too many to stay away from ‘home’. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book. 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SELF SERVE MURDER by @denaehaggerty #SundayBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Suzanne, she blogs at https://suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Suzanne has been reading Self Serve Murder by Dena E Haggerty

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First of all I love the colour of the cover! I like the design as well.

I had no idea what to expect with this book as I’ve never read a cosy mystery before (watched plenty of TV shows though). It was clear from the start that this was not a serious mystery book, and once this is established it’s easy to sit back and enjoy the escape from reality.
I hadn’t read the previous two books in the series, but wasn’t worried as it stated this could be read as a standalone. The crime itself was resolved in this book, but because the characters are so settled in their world and relationships well established, I found myself wishing I had read the previous books first.
The constant reference to coffee was clever and inventive, but at times when the situations were more serious I found it distracting.
I thought I’d guessed the culprit early on, but a few red herrings along the way had me second guessing myself.
 
My only hang-up with this novel was the way the men treated ‘their’ women. The men were very bossy and macho all the time. I also found the way Kristie’s love interest literally forced his way into her life while she did little to stop it, very unrealistic.
Apart from that it was a fun, easy read and should appeal to people who enjoy cosy mysteries like Agatha Raisin, Murder She Wrote and Rosemary and Thyme (opinion based on tv viewing).
 
Note – I reviewed an ebook copy supplied by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Book Description

Book 3 in the Death by Cupcake series. Can be read as a standalone.

Kristie is kind with a capital K, so it’s quite the surprise when she wakes up next to a dead man with no recollection of the previous night. Even worse? She’s naked. Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Callie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues Callie and Anna. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that. 

Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. You are most welcome, but you may need to serve yourself as our barista Kristie is busy trying to save the world. 

Warning: Although there are plenty of moments that will make you shake your head and laugh at the antics of the ladies of Callie’s Cakes, the subject matter – rape on college campuses – is very real and somewhat darker than your usual cozy mystery.

About the author
D.E. Haggerty
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage, every once in a while, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I decided to follow the husband to Istanbul for a few years where I managed to churn out book after book. But ten years was too many to stay away from ‘home’. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book. 

THE WITCHES OF DOYLE Trilogy by @KirstenWeiss #Paranormal Cosy #Mystery #WeekendBlogShare

Bound: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery (The Witches of Doyle Book 1)Today I’m reviewing all three books of this trilogy.

Bound: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bound is book #1 of The Witches of Doyle cosy paranormal mysteries. Doyle is an old mining town in California in the Sierra mountains.

Karin, Jayce and Lenore are triplets and witches who each practice a different form of magic, book #1 is Karin’s story. Their aunt Ellen is in hospital in the last stages of cancer, returning to Jayce’s home over her coffee shop Jayce and Karin discover the body of the local newspaper editor. Jayce is taken to the police station for questioning and employs lawyer Nick Heathcoat.

Strange things are happening in Doyle, a missing women comes out of the forest, a homeless man becomes victim number two and when visiting the local fairy spring Karin and Nick are nearly drowned.

In Ellen’s last days she talks to the girls about their magic and why she protected them, she warns them that there’s change coming to Doyle and they must find the rose rabbit, but Karin can find no mention of a rose rabbit in any of her searches.

Suspicion for the murders keeps returning to Jayce unless Karin can help solve the mystery and help her sister.

I liked the idea of a trilogy with the three witches,before I opened the book, I was reminded how much I enjoyed Nora Robert’s Three Sisters Island Trilogy. Kirsten Weiss’s trilogy is very much cosy with a thin vein of romance. Although I enjoyed the book and will go on to read the others, there were a couple of times I wasn’t convinced by the plot. One example where I believed Kirsten was leading Nick to the Fairy Spring, she then had a moment of watching his back which shouldn’t have been possible. Good for those who like kitchen witchcraft and a cosy mystery.

Book description

Bound by magic, bound by love, bound by murder… 

The Bonheim triplets live seemingly ordinary lives, hiding their magic from the neighbors in the small, mountain town of Doyle, California. But when a body is found in big sister Jayce’s coffee shop, Karin, the practical one, is determined to prove Jayce innocent. 
A murder isn’t the only bizarre event in Doyle. Why are hikers vanishing in the nearby woods? Why are some people cursed with bad luck and others with good? And why is Karin’s magic the weakest of the three sisters’? 

As Karin digs deep to uncover the truth and regain her magic, her family is thrown into peril. Will her power return too late to save the people she loves the most, or will it be the cause of disaster? 
Goodreads |  AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter
Ground: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery (The Witches of Doyle Book 2)Ground: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ground is book #2 in The Witches of Doyle cosy paranormal mysteries. They are set in the town of Doyle in the Sierra mountains of California.

Book #2 is Jayce’s story, she is the oldest of the Bonheim triplet witches. Jayce owns a coffee shop called Ground. Whilst at a country pub one Friday night her truck is stolen. It turns up the next day with a dead body in the back.

Once again Jayce is a suspect. The body is of Matt Zana a local handyman. While the police begin a methodical inquiry, Jayce and her family believe it is once again the work of the Unseelie or Fairy from the Fairy Spring influencing the inhabitants of Doyle.

Jayce is determined to solve the mystery behind Matt herself, she discovers he was a bit of a player and more than one person in town was being blackmailed by him. A second body is found and the attacks keep coming. The girls need to close in on the Unseelie and find the rose rabbit who they think will help them with to put an end to the bad luck in Doyle.

Another solid kitchen witch cosy, and a big ending to carry over to book #3.

Book Description

Her magic flows from the earth… 
Jayce Bonheim is on the sheriff’s radar and not in a good way. 
Always the reckless one of her triplet sisters, Jayce is trying to turn over a new leaf. No more wild partying. No more one night stands. But when someone leaves a dead body in her pickup truck, her resolve to become the sensible sister is sorely tested. 
Caught in a web of love, murder, and magic, Jayce must clear her name and discover who is behind the curse that holds her family and town in thrall. 

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Down: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery (The Witches of Doyle Book 3)Down: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Down is book #3 and the concluding part of The Witches of Doyle trilogy. This book is Lenore’s story and her role in finding the rose rabbit and putting an end to the hold that the fairy Belle has over the town of Doyle.

Lenore works in the town bookstore, but when her boss is murdered, Lenore is suspicious. She’s soon contacted by Mr Pivens an executor of Mike’s will and told that he left her the shop and his rare books collection. Lenore knew nothing of the rare books and is soon being hounded by a shady dealer about a possible valuable book.

With her sister Karin pregnant time is also running out to solve the fairy mystery hanging over Doyle and the family curse. The rose rabbit is the key if only they can find out who it is. Perhaps the many ghosts which Lenore can see can help her?

Everyone is looking for answers, the FBI were called in when twenty two people and a pub went missing, Alba Pollard, schizophrenic resident is hounding the town and Lenore’s list of suspects is long.

Lots happens in this cosy mystery ending of the trilogy, the three sisters must pull all their magical powers together to break the hold over Doyle and save the town and its townsfolk.

A pretty good paranormal mystery trilogy, one to sit by the fireside and enjoy.

Book Description

The answers lie below… 
A shamanic witch and a poet, Lenore Bonheim hides in the world of books to escape reality, which for her includes seeing ghosts and forecasting death. But when her employer and friend dies under suspicious circumstances, she must use all her skills – magical and mundane – to find the killer and save her two sisters and her town. 
As the three sisters pull together to stave off a growing menace, Lenore must discover what it means to be in this world and of it. 

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT MADAM TULIP & the KNAVE OF HEARTS by @daveahernwriter

Today’s Team Review is from Barb, she blogs here http://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Madam Tulip and the Knave Of Hearts by David Ahern

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My Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern

I fell in love with Derry, the hapless heroine of David Ahern’s cozy mystery series, in Madam Tulip, the first book of this terrific series, as she supplemented the vicissitudes of an acting career by capitalizing on her inherited psychic gifts. As the glamorous and mysterious Madam* Tulip, world-famous psychic and fortune-teller, Derry reluctantly finds herself telling fortunes for well-heeled clients. (*That’s Madam without an “e”, because she’s not married to Monsieur Tulip.) 

 

Just as her acting career seems poised to take off, disaster strikes their venerable old theater, and Derry is forced to take a job for her wealthy American mother Vanessa—art gallery owner, agent, and force of nature. At the same time, Derry attempts to dodge the more extreme scheming of her Irish father Jacko—famous artist, compulsive gambler, and womanizer. At times Derry wonders if she’s the only one who remembers that her parents are divorced, as she’s caught in the middle of their ongoing battles/attraction.

But in the midst of these scenes from her regular life, Derry is approached by a friend from Book 1 with a command performance request for Madam Tulip from a wealthy Countess. Reluctantly, Derry agrees and along with her conscripted sidekick Bruce, is soon ensconced in the aristocratic estate and lives of a compulsive gambler Earl and his family.

As a reader, that was about the time that I started to add up the ways that author David Ahern was systematically both using and subverting the standard Cozy Mystery tropes.

The sweet old lady amateur detective is a gray wig and a costumed role for a young woman who prefers the cash to solving the crime. “Derry and Bruce were different people in as many ways as you could imagine. But they were both actors. To be insulted by offers of money was, therefore, an existential impossibility.”

Her gay best friend is not only a handsome fellow actor but he’s also a competent ex-Navy Seal and computer expert who—in contrast to Cozy genre norms—doesn’t cook, own a small dog, or give fashion advice. (Although he is somewhat-unfortunately named Bruce, so there’s that…)

Neither the police nor local medical providers are the least helpful.

The murdered body itself might be offstage, but bits of it have taken to turning up in particularly graphic ways.  Despite body bits, liberal clues, and red herrings that point to the bad guys and accomplice early on, the actual motivating factor isn’t revealed until the end, when it almost doesn’t matter.

In keeping with the Cozy ethics, there is no swearing, unless “gobshite” counts. But there are no cats, no knitting, and not much use for cupcakes either. “The neighbours of the Palace Theatre were mostly bars catering to stag parties—hordes of drunken revellers whose uses for a cupcake could prove unorthodox.” 

Instead of a cozy little village, the action moves to an aristocratic estate that can only be called ‘familiar’ by Downton Abby fans. There are several sightings of “HER”, and in addition to the Queen, members of the Royal family play roles. One thing that makes American-raised Derry (and Americans like me) wonder is the whole concept of the Queen and British royalty. Like Derry, we can’t quite figure it out.

‘I’ve never understood why the Irish are so keen on the British Royal Family,’ observed Derry to Jacko in a whisper. ‘You know—all that bad history. You’d think they’d have a grudge.’

‘Sure what has history to do with it, at all?’ replied Jacko. ‘Isn’t it a grand show, with all the parades and marriages and scandals galore? All paid for by the British taxpayer, God bless them. We Irish say think you very much’ do carry on.’

The book’s pacing works well, with the scene set at the aristocratic estate, eccentric characters such as the ex-showgirl Countess, and occasional arrival of random body parts. My only complaints with the book start when the cozy mystery escalates into a thriller mode that’s less convincing, with James Bond style over-the-top villains and complex rigged death scenes that frankly would have been much more easily arranged with a strategic bullet or two and some judicious arson. Indeed, Derry willingly puts herself at risk because she feels guilty over something she had no control over or responsibility for. While this enables the thriller-style finale, I think the judges would agree that it doesn’t really make sense. Sure, if Derry had been English, she would have apologized for everything from the weather to her own incompetence in briskly ferreting out the murderer. But Derry is Irish-American. And the Irish aren’t about feel guilty about bad things happening to the English, while the Americans aren’t going to apoligize for anything except possibly Donald Trump.

And finally, there is a ‘you’ve probably wondered why I’ve called you all here’ scene that’s almost an afterthought, and a bit of cozy-mystery cheating as the final motivating clue isn’t revealed until after all the action.

But you know what? These complaints are absolutely minor next to the character building, scene setting, and snarky conversation. I love this series, highly recommend it, and suggest that readers treat themselves to both books in order. I would give Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts an equally-enthusiastic four stars. As I said with the first book, if you’re up for a funny, well-written genre mashup with memorable characters and a great sense of voice and style, I think you’ll love this series.

And of course, I can’t wait for Madam Tulip’s next appearance.

I reviewed Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts for Rosie’s Book Review Team

***I received this book from the publisher or author to facilitate an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

 

about the author David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate and taught in major Universities but could never explain to his granny why he didnít own a stethoscope. Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series. He won numerous awards, but found nobody was much impressed. For want of a better plan, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip isn't his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he's ever had with a computer. He is now writing the third in the series and enjoys pretending that this activity is actual work. David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud. To find out more about Madam Tulip and David Ahern, visit www.davidahern.info

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate and taught in major Universities but could never explain to his granny why he didnít own a stethoscope.
Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series. He won numerous awards, but found nobody was much impressed.
For want of a better plan, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip isn’t his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the third in the series and enjoys pretending that this activity is actual work.
David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

Twitter @daveahernwriter

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT MADAM TULIP & The Knave of Hearts by @DaveAhernWriter

Today’s Team Review is from Jessie she blogs at http://behindthewillows.com

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern

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I’m so grateful that I was once reeled in by a cute frog on the cover of a book. That book, Madam Tulip, introduced me to Derry O’Donnell and her accompanying, charmingly over the top, literary comrades.

David Ahern’s newest book cover isn’t as cute…… but that’s alright because I loved it even more!

Would I recommend it? Yes! This is the new series I’m recommending to anyone who loves a humorous mystery! It made me giggle (so many times) and almost gag (there’s an eyeball…) and had me on the edge of my seat (Well, that’s just a lie on my part. I was reading in bed. But it did have me refusing to put the book down and go to bed at a reasonable time) all at once. A perfect fun, quick read!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Book Description

Madam Tulip! Actress, fortune-teller, psychic, sleuth!
When out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell moonlights as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip in an English Stately home, she’s trying to make some cash. Instead, she is drawn into an alien world of wealth, titled privilege and family secrets. 
A countess once a chorus girl, a gambling earl and his daughters, a cultured and handsome art expert—all caught in a terrifying web of ghastly threats, murder and abduction. As an aristocratic engagement party turns into a nightmare, Derry and her friend Bruce face the prospect of a gruesome and infamous death. 
Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.
 

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A LONG WAYS FROM HOME by @Mike54Martin #Cosy #Mystery

Today’s Team Review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading A Long Ways From Home by Mike Martin

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This is the first Sgt. Windflower book I have read, and I was curious about a book with a Native American member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as the protagonist. The series takes place in Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada. Sgt. Winston Windflower is an RCMP officer and a Cree from Northern Alberta, who is stationed in the small town of Grand Bank.

The story is fairly straightforward with a few twists: A large crew of outlaw bikers terrorizing the town of Grand Falls leaves behind the bodies of two people, a man and a woman, shot execution style in the head. The bodies are believed to be linked to the Bacchus Motorcycle Club, whose members are professional criminals who deal in prostitution, drugs, and brutality. The club is not only the nexus for a large drug distribution ring but is fighting another club for the territory. Sgt. Windflower, whose wedding to Sheila Hillier is rapidly approaching, is called to the town to clean up the mess. Budget cuts, meaning fewer officers to cover the territory, means trouble not only in Grand Falls but also at home, where his future wife is the mayor. A complication arises when the motorcycle belonging to Sheila’s cousin, Carol Jackson, is found abandoned by the side of the road outside of Grand Bank. Windflower learns from Sheila that Carole has been a member of motorcycle gangs in the past.

Windflower has to rely on his fellow Mounties to assist him in solving the crime and neutralizing Bacchus and its leader. He is supported by Sheila and his dog Lady, who is sensitive to his feelings and who is an important part of his life. Windflower’s Cree background also figures into his emotional support – helping him interpret his dreams through his uncle and aunt who are dreamwalkers, and beginning each day with the smoke of his smudge pot to remind him to be kind, strong, and determined.

The one word I can think of to describe this book is ‘nice.’ Such an overworked word, but it means good and enjoyable, kind, polite, and friendly. The characters in the book who are not part of the biker gang are believable, well drawn and, well, nice. The story moves along at a sedate pace, serene in its descriptions, and detailed in the police procedures. Even the tension-filled scenes are not high octane, and the dialogue is almost stately. The lives of the police are realistically portrayed in this way with lots of detail and even the occasionally boring parts. Most significantly, their contributions to helping people and communities overcome new and very difficult challenges is emphasized.

There is food in this book – delicious, mouth-watering in its description – and I am a sucker for food. I was introduced to bakeapples, another term for cloudberries, which are somewhat similar to raspberries of strawberries, but found in cool temperate, alpine climates, arctic tundra and boreal forests. I can’t wait to try them.

One other character that has to be mentioned is Newfoundland itself, an island whose natural beauty the author describes so well that I want to visit.

This was a slow read, but a ‘nice’ one.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT MADAM TULIP by @DaveAhernWriter cosy #Mystery

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz has been reading Madam Tulip by David Ahern

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Madam Tulip by David Ahern

 

Derry O’Donnell is a fully qualified out of work actress who lives in Dublin. Her father, Jacko, is a charming artist, fond of gambling, while her mother, Vanessa, is an assertive, successful Gallery owner in New York.

 

Derry’s friend, Bella suggests that Derry uses her psychic talents, as the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son, to create the persona of a mystic called Madam Tulip. After meeting a friend of Jacko at a race course, Derry is persuaded by supermodel Marlene O’Mara to give Madam Tulip her first performance, giving consultations and predictions to clients at a Charity Bash taking place in a castle, the following weekend. Among the guests are Mojo, a rapper from London and his partner Sonya Dee, an American R n B singer.

 

Derry finds Bruce, an old friend and also a “resting” actor, working at the castle. In addition, he is an ex US navy SEAL with special skills which she will soon need to rely on. Mojo is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Bella is arrested. When it looks as though Derry might also be framed for murder, she decides to find the real culprit, but she is hindered by the lack of co-operation of her old flame, Fitz, an aristocratic policeman from London, who is working incognito.

 

Derry is a brave, likeable heroine, who inspires loyalty from her friends. She relishes danger, although unsure of the advantage of her ability to sense people’s secrets and predict consequences. The second half of the novel is full of drama and adventure. It is clear that Derry or Madam Tulip could continue with other thrilling investigations since you can trust her and enjoy her sardonic humour.

 

This story fits into the cosy mystery genre but there is also a touch of Irish feyness which reminds me of the books of David’s namesake, Cecelia Ahern. A most enjoyable read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT NEVER TRUST A SKINNY CUP CAKE BAKER by @denaehaggerty

Today’s Team Review is from Olga, she blogs at http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Olga has been reading Never Trust A Cup Cake Baker by Dena Haggerty

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Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker (Death by Cupcake Book 1) Cupcakes, pole dancing, murder and amusement

byD.E. Haggerty

I am reviewing this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I received a free copy of the novel in exchange for an unbiased review.

From the description I thought this book sounded like a fun and light read, and indeed it is. We have the adventures of Callie, a woman who had to work hard to get her doctorate and now teaches at university, although only on a part-time basis, whilst also running a bakery with her friend, Anna. She’s just come out of a disastrous relationship that hasn’t done her self-esteem any good. She’s being pursued by a police detective, who according to all women who meet him is a Mr Hottie, but she can’t believe he’s serious as she feels she not in his league because she’s overweight and does not feel sexy. In an attempt at changing her perspective, her friend enrols both of them in a pole dancing class. Unfortunately this ends up quite badly, not because of lack of skill (that too) but because their instructor is killed and Callie becomes the main suspect. Not only that, but her position teaching at university is put in jeopardy because of this and she decides (with Anna by her side) that if the police won’t do anything to investigate and clear her name, she will.

Each chapter in the novel starts with an amusing quote related to cupcakes and the book moves at a good pace, with twists, turns, new clues and threats at every turn.

As is to be expected in cozy mysteries, the protagonist is quirky (she describes herself as a nerd and when nervous she tends to quote facts as if she were Wikipedia), self-deprecating and with a sense of humour. The male in the story is gorgeous and insistently pursues the protagonist no matter what (he seems too good to be true, perhaps a bit on the overprotective side, but that’s usual when the genre involves big doses of romance). I liked Anna, with her pink hair and her no-nonsense attitude. She is all up and go and drags her friend into action, like it or not. I hope we’ll get to know more about her as the series progresses, as in this one we don’t know much about her personal life other than that she gets propositioned by Dolly, the pole-dancing instructor (who although attractive, isn’t at all nice. Not by a long shot).

Perhaps because I read more straight thrillers than cozy ones, the investigation part of the novel for me stretched the imagination and required more suspension of disbelief than I’m used to. There aren’t that many clues but the few ones available keep being dismissed by the police (than other than Ben, the hottie detective, seem utterly useless) and the ending is satisfying, although seems to be brought on more by the guilty party than by the investigative skills of the police and the main characters. But there are enough twists and turns to keep everybody guessing, and quite a few characters you’d love to hate.

Overall it’s an amusing and light read, and includes a delicious recipe, and it is a good start to a series that I hope will develop further the characters and the stories.

 

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Never-Trust-Skinny-Cupcake-Baker-ebook/dp/B01CNZ75DE/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Trust-Skinny-Cupcake-Baker-ebook/dp/B01CNZ75DE/

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT MURDER ON THE LEVELS by @FrancesEvesham #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading Murder On The Levels by Frances Evesham

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Book Review: Murder on the Levels by Frances Evesham

Murder on the Levels is the second in a series of short tales of murder by Frances Evesham. I was looking forward to reading this after I reviewed Murder at the Lighthouse, and I was not disappointed. This is a perfect short, cozy mystery.

Libby Forest was trapped for years in an abusive marriage, and after her husband Trevor dies, she takes some of the money from the sale of their house and buys a cottage in Exham on Sea, a small inbred coastal town. She currently works in a local bakery and hopes to have her own patisserie and chocolate shop eventually. In the meantime, she makes samples of her sweets available at the bakery.

At the beginning of this tale, Libby brings sandwiches and sweets from the bakery to the local cycling club, to the spot where they stop for lunch on one of their outings. Shortly after, everyone becomes sick and two of the bikers die. Libby, who is walking a friend’s dog, runs into the mysterious Max Ramshore, who Libby suspects is a government spy. He is also walking a dog – Bear, his enormous Carpathian sheepdog – and gets a phone call telling him his son, Joe, a detective sergeant in the local police force and one of the cyclists, has become seriously ill and has been taken to the hospital. He and Libby drive out to the wildlife reserve and what is now being treated as a crime scene. On her way home, Libby herself becomes sick. The only thing she ate that the cyclists would have eaten is an Eccles cake. Libby made it, and she knows she didn’t do anything wrong.

A poison, digitalis, is determined to be the source of the sickness. Naturally, suspicion falls on the bakery and its boss, Frank, and of course, Libby.

The book reintroduces the reader to some of the town’s colorful characters: Mandy, the young Goth who rents a room from Libby; Joe Ramshore, who resented Libby’s sleuthing in the previous mystery; Frank the baker; and Fuzzy, Libby’s marmalade cat who has an unusual liking for Bear. New are Steve, Mandy’s boyfriend, and Ali, Libby’s daughter, who comes to take care of her. Ali shocks Libby when she reveals she’s left her studies at the university and is going to build schools in a rain forest with a young man she’s met.

When Ali leaves, she deliberately places an envelope where Libby will find it; in it is a deed to a house in Leeds that Trevor left to Ali. He also deeded a house to their son, Michael. Libby is perplexed as to why her late husband would do this and becomes suspicious, since Trevor emptied all their bank accounts when he left her. Now Libby has two things to investigate, and this becomes three when, for no apparent reason, Steve is run off the rode while riding his motorcycle.

The author does a great job believably weaving together the disparate threads of this story, sending Libby hither and yon through West Country scenery and keeping the reader guessing until the very end. This is an engaging and easy read, and heralds the continuation of a wonderful mystery series. I strongly highly recommend Murder on the Levels, a great cozy to curl up with!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Yesterday’s Ghosts by @samcheever Cosy #Mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Yesterday's Ghosts (Yesterday's Mysteries #3)Yesterday’s Ghosts by Sam Cheever
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yesterday’s ghosts is book 3 of the cosy Yesterday’s mysteries. It can be read as a stand alone book, but to get the most from the book I suggest reading the rest of the series first because you will get so much more from them this way.

As with the first two books their is a glossary of colloquialisms from yesteryear America as spoken by the two resident ghosts at Anna’s antique shop. Set in Crocker Indiana, the book opens with Anna and Pratt attending the Apple Blossom Festival Ball. The Ball is sent into chaos by the murder of local librarian Mike Pots. Local cop Bill Dresden sets about interviewing everyone at the ball and the list of suspects becomes extremely long when it is divulged that Mike Pots was about to publish a book about the townsfolk of Crocker. The contents of which were not pretty reading and it quickly became clear that many folks would have done anything to stop Mike.

Back at Anna’s shop the ghost of Lissie Nelson arrives seeking help from the dark entity which follows her. Joss and Bess, Anna resident ghosts try to help Lissie discover what has brought her to the shop and what evil is also threatening to hurt someone.

These books are great cosy mysteries with clever twists and turns. I like all the ghostly characters and the relationship between Anna and Pratt is blossoming as the series evolves. I could easily have sat reading more about the past residents of Crocker and their ghostly characters, but perhaps there will be more in a new book in the series?

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads