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It Cannoli Be Murder
by Catherine Bruns

I really enjoyed the first book by Catherine Bruns in the Italian Chef Mystey series, Penne Dreadful, and It Cannoli be Murder was another winner… which is not always the case with the second book in a cozy mystery series, so I was very happy! As with the first book Bruns does a fantastic job with the scene descriptions, character development, and the mouth watering scenes with food. We got to know the characters very well in the first book, so in It Cannoli be Murder not only do we get some new insights into the main characters, but the new characters receive just as much detail. Tessa and her cousin, Gabby, have a fantastic relationship. Although they are cousins, it’s more like they are sisters and both of them are people I would love to have as friends. There’s a new detective in town that is a jerk so I’m interested to see if there will be a heartwarming story in future books that sheds a light on why he’s so mean, or to find out if that’s just the way he acts all the time. Tessa’s landlord, Vince, is looking awful good to me and I hope something starts to happen with them in the romance department. I would jump on… ummm… I meant, at, a chance to be with him. Tall, dark, handsome, romantic, and owns a winery, Yes, Please. Then there’s her long time friend, Justin… while he’s attractive too and has been very sweet to Tessa, I’m still rooting for Vince. There were lots of suspects as to who the killer could be and plenty of red herrings to keep one guessing. I thought I had figured out whodunnit, but I was wrong, which I always enjoy in a cozy mystery. Some of the suspects were vile people so it goes to show that Bruns can write a variety of characters very well. Another great addition to the Italian Chef Mysteries and I am excited to see where book three leads. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you should definitely give this series a try!

The First to Lie
by Hank Phillippi Ryan

I kept seeing lots of four and five star reviews for The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan, so I kept putting off writing this review, rethinking what I had read and if I really should be giving it more stars. But reviews are just one person’s opinion, so take that into account before deciding if you’ll be reading this book after reading my review. Who knows, you may end up being one of the people raving about The First to Lie. I love the concept since I enjoy reading about Big Pharma getting its comeuppance. And the way the ladies went about their investigation was very intriguing and kept me wondering if they would get caught. I had no problem going back and forth between the characters, or even into the past with other characters. I actually enjoyed the flashbacks because I thought it added great character development and another interesting layer to the story. What went wrong for me with the story was all the “secrets”. If only one character had done it and it was presented in such a way to be a cool reveal at the end, I would probably be giving The First to Lie five stars. But numerous characters did the secret numerous times and it was far too unrealistic. Now I know fiction doesn’t have to be realistic, and I love reading Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, and Sci-fi so I enjoy books with lots of imagination in them, but for a suspense novel this was way over the top.

The Dilemma
by B.A. Paris

Most of The Dilemma by B.A. Paris is told in about a 24 hour time span, alternating between Livia’s and Adam’s point of view and including flashbacks to give more context. They are both keeping a secret hoping to keep the other from experiencing the complete ruin they know is to come. One is keeping it in order to give their spouse a few last hours of happiness, the other to realize a dream they’ve had for years. Some people may side with both of them and their decisions. While I think both of them should have said something right away, I’m completely siding with Adam. If you’ve read the book, I would love to hear if you thought either of them were doing the right thing. Paris kept the suspense up and the exposing of new secrets like a pro. There was a bit in the middle with Adam and his thought process that I found very repetitive and wished more of it had been cut out during editing, mainly to keep the story flowing even faster. When I did finally find out the outcome, it wasn’t a surprise, but it was still moving. I was hoping it would go a different way and was looking forward to seeing if Paris could throw in another big twist. A very interesting look at family and friend drama and the secrets people keep while trying to protect themselves even when they are saying they are completely doing it for someone else.

In the Swim of Things
by Tracie Banister

My biggest complaint when I read romance is that the will they/won’t they goes on too long for my taste. And I’m not just waiting for the romp in the bedroom/garden/water because if that was the case I would just pick up more erotica. I’m looking for the relationship adventures; the dates, meeting the friends/family, seeing how well they treat each other, etc… and In the Swim of Things by Tracie Banister, she really delivers all of those events that I look for in a romance, including humor, which was such a wonderful bonus! Kyra and Declan have a one night stand, but he’s not in the right headspace so Kyra moves on. Which is awesome! No waiting around and she goes on to live her life while still being friends with Declan. Then she meets Cade. Here is where Banister fooled me a bit since I thought for sure Cade was going to be more involved in the development of the resort, but the amount that he was involved in happened to be perfect. Kyra realizes that Cade is involved with her sworn enemy, but they handle it well and they don’t let it simmer and ruin their relationship. What grown ups acting like reasonable adults?!? That was so refreshing. A lot more fun, sweet, and sexy things happen not only between Krya/Cade/Declan, but the other characters in the book which adds lots of wonderful layers to the novel. Plus, the world of professional mermaids and all the gorgeous costumes, underwater scenes, meet and greets, and party scenes that come along with that makes me want to be part of their world. Then there’s the humor, which I always love to find in a romance, is found in spades, especially when it comes to Slater. I was really impressed with In the Swim of Things and I’m excited to read some of Banister’s other books including Izzy as Is, Mixing It Up, and Twin Piques.

A Book Signing to Die For
by Judy Moore

A Book Signing to Die for by Judy Moore is a great start to a new cozy mystery series! For me it’s all about the characters when it comes to a cozy (and location/hobbies is a close second). They have to be characters I enjoy and could see be friends with in order for me to want to return again and again to their small towns. And with Grandmama and Lizzie, Moore has accomplished this in spades. I liked Grandmama instantly with her crankiness that you just knew was hiding a heart of gold. Lizzie took me a bit to warm up to, but she seems so wise and confident for a 19 year old that she won me over. And even the characters that aren’t so nice, like the jewelry shop owners and the guest author (at least at first) are written really well. Moore seems to have the character descriptions down perfectly. As for the town and surrounding areas, Moore describes them so you feel as if you are really there and want to take a look around. I love that Beck, Lizzie, and their Grandmama live upstairs from the bookstore, and both are described in such great detail that I want to visit the shop and live above it myself! There is a bit of a love interest sparking with the detective, so I’m interested to see where that goes. In this book he kept telling Beck not to investigate, and it does get really dangerous at one point, but we’ll see if he changes his tune and starts to help her a bit in future books. And the whodunnit was done very well. I didn’t figure out the killer early. I thought it was two other people working together, and I was not even close. A fantastic start and I look forward to visiting the O’Rourke ladies and their Florida town again soon!

Taken Too Soon
by Edith Maxwell

I was pleasantly surprised with Taken too Soon by Edith Maxwell. I read a lot of cozy mysteries, but not many Quaker or Amish ones. I had read an Amish cozy a few months back and some of the reasons it was off putting to me was how sickly sweet everyone was, the protagonist was passive-aggressive to her boyfriend, and the murder was super easy to solve. While the murder was easy for me to solve in Taken too Soon, no one was overly sweet, the protagonist realized there are evil people in the world, and Rose treats her husband with respect and love. I was actually really pleased at how competent and intelligent Rose came across. In other cozy mysteries the sleuth will not even speculate about people and their motives, only discovering a clue when it practically trips her. Rose was theorizing about children out of wedlock and nasty men who molest and rape (although that word is never mentioned) young girls. I was so taken aback by this that I even mentioned it to my husband. And it was really strange that while reading Taken Too Soon I felt myself slow down and get more peaceful. I don’t know if it was the Thees and other types of speech that I’m not accustomed to reading or the beautiful descriptions and great character development, but I didn’t feel myself reading quickly through this book, and yet it was a fast paced story. I am so happy I read Taken Too Soon and look forward to more books in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series. If you haven’t read any in the series yet, you may want to start with book one, Delivering the Truth, although Maxwell writes so well that you won’t be lost if you start with a book later in the series.

Fly Guy And The Frankenfly
by Ted Arnold

I liked the words used in this book.

Fly Guy And The Frankenfly
by Ted Arnold

I liked the words used in this book.

The Acorn People
by Ron Jones

This was a very good book, at some points I was a little confused were the author was going with it but I think it was a very inspiring book. My sister has been in and out of a wheel chair so this book really hits home.

by Steve Cavanaugh

When I read the premise of this book I was instantly intrigued, and Steve Cavanagh does a fantastic job with keeping the drama and suspense turned up in Thirteen, the fourth edition to the Eddie Flynn series. I haven’t read the others in the series, but if they are as good as Thirteen then I definitely will. Cavanagh alternates the telling of the story between Flynn and the killer, Joshua Kane. Cavanagh doesn’t hold back with the descriptions of how twisted Kane’s mind and killings are, which is something that a lot of courtroom dramas shy away from. There were a couple of things that I rolled my eyes at because it was a bit too far fetched, but it was needed to keep the story going. The biggest thing was when the jury specialist was going to tell Flynn something that disturbed him about one of the jurors, but Flynn just had to be elsewhere. Right. That. Minute. It would have taken the specialist two seconds to say the name, but if he had then what happened later couldn’t have happened. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was obviously something that stuck with me. Another thing that stood out was the way Flynn handled the relationship with his wife at the end. It just seemed forced/strange/something else I can’t put my finger on, but perhaps if I had read the previous books it would have flowed better for me. Even with those sticking points, I still say you should read this book, especially if you like courtroom dramas or serial killers. And you may not even notice what I mentioned previously!
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