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Mattie Hatter and the Gilded Gauge

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's
Whodunit Wednesday EXTENDED!

Do you like to solve mysteries?
Do you love to win prizes?
If you said yes to both questions,
you're in the right place! 

It's easy.
Read the following story and if you think you know
Whodunit, enter your answer into 
the Rafflecopter form below.

Giveaway is open to US and Canada

This week's Whodunit is being hosted by author
Joyce & Jim Lavene / J. J. Cook!

And to send 2014 out with a bang, Joyce & Jim are giving one lucky reader 

One copy of 
SPELL BOOKED by Joyce & Jim Lavene
Book 1 in the Retired Witches Mystery series
The national bestselling authors of the Missing Pieces Mysteries summon up the first Retired Witches Mystery in a brand new supernatural series...

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…  
 
Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.
 
They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…

One copy of 
IN HOT WATER by J. J. Cook
Book 3 in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery series
Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, has the world’s hottest and sweetest peppers—as well as a ghost that cooks and a fire chief who fights crime…
 
SPARK OF INTEREST
 
Stella Griffin should be bubbling over with joy now that she’s the full-time fire chief of Sweet Pepper, except trouble is brewing on her doorstep. An angry resident has purchased her cabin, and—with a bulldozer in tow—is ready to tear it down. But as Stella worries over the fate of her home and Eric, her ghostly roommate, there’s soon an even greater cause for alarm.
 
A suspicious house fire in the pricey Sunset Beach community at Sweet Pepper Lake claims the life of ex-state representative Barney Falk. The nature of the death has Stella feeling out of her depth, so she teams up with the state’s arson investigator. Moving full steam ahead with the case, they must smoke out a killer before the firebug strikes again…

INCLUDES RECIPES!

and

One $20.oo Amazon Gift Card! 

Just answer today's Whodunit and you could be the lucky winner!

Let's get started!

MRS. KRENSHAW'S SPARE KEY


   "I hate to bother you, Mr. Holmes."

   Sherman's neighbor, Mrs. Krenshaw, led him across the street from his house to hers, a tidy Victorian gem set in the pristine white of a recent snowfall. The elderly widow was remarkably self-sufficient and walked with a strong, confident gait.

   "I know I ought to go to the police," she said in a fluttering voice. "But Hank and Edgar are both such good friends. If you could find some way of getting my vase back without calling in the authorities..." She pressed her hand into his. "You're so very clever about these things."

   Sherman blushed and cleared his throat. "Tell me about the vase, Mrs. Krenshaw." 

   She spoke eagerly. "You know that TV program, America's Tresures, the one where people bring in antiques and the experts tell where they came from and how much they're worth. Well, I had this old vase handed down to me by my mother. I took it over to the Armory yesterday, where they were filming the show. An expert appraised it at $20,000. It was all very exciting, being on TV and having such a rarity." 

   "And you think wither Hank or Edgar broke into your house and stole it?"

   "I don't know what else to think. Look."

   Sherman looked. In the middle of the lawn sat a flowerpot on top of a stump. A single set of footprints crossed the snow-covered lawn to the stump then crossed away again toward the front door. Mrs. Krenshaw trampled through the snow to the stomp.

   "The house was unlocked when I got home from shopping a few minutes ago. I never leave it unlocked. Sure enough, the antique vase was gone. Then I saw these footprints out here. I came right over to you." She lifted the flowerpot and pointed to a key hidden beneath it. "I know it's stupid to leave a key out here like this, but everybody does it."

   "Both Edgar and Hank know where you keep your spare key?"

   "Yes. And they knew about the vase. I just had to tell them my wonderful news."

   Once inside the house, Sherman telephoned Hank, Lyda Krenshaw's next-door neighbor, and Edgar, a gentleman friend who lived two blocks away. Hank was the first to arrive.

   "I've been home all morning," Hank explained. He was a young, slight bachelor and didn't seem outraged to be considered a suspect. "I was paying bills at my desk. It's got a view of the street and I didn't notice any cars stopping or people walking by. Of course, I wasn't staring out the window every second." Sherman checked the man's shoes. They were wet from the snow, but his trouser legs appeared to be dry. 

   Edgar rang the bell a few minutes later. He seemed more annoyed by Sherman's inquiries. "I took my dog for a walk this morning. I passed by this block, but I didn't see anyone. And I certainly didn't go into Lyda's house."

   Sherman left the men and joined Mrs. Krenshaw in the kitchen. "I'm not sure I can help you," he admitted. "Was the vase insured?"

She thought for a moment. "I suppose it's covered by my homeowner's policy. Does this mean you don't know who took it?"

   "Oh, I know who took it. I just don't think you'll like the answer."

Who stole the vase? 

What clue gave the thief away?

 The Whodunit Wednesday solution will be posted on tomorrow's blog .

I want to thank Joyce and Jim for hosting this week's Whodunit Wednesday.

Learn more about Joyce and Jim Lavene

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

I would love for you to follow my blog. 
Click on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page!


GOOD LUCK!     

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


DEADLY DECOR by Karen Rose Smith
ON BORROWED TIME by Jenn McKinlay
FOR WHOM THE BLUEBELL TOLLS by Beverly Allen

DEADLY DECOR
Book 2 in the Caprice De Luca Mystery series
by 
Karen Rose Smith

Quiet Kismet, Pennsylvania, may look like any other small town, but as a home stager, Caprice De Luca can see behind closed doors--and it seems someone has designs on murder. . .Life is a full house for Caprice these days. She's dating, she's rescuing adorable cocker spaniels, and she's decorating the roomy interiors of Kismet's most well-heeled residents with fun fantasy themes. But she's worried about her pregnant sister. Bella's marriage is coming apart like a bad wallpaper job, and to make matters worse, she's decided to meet up with a former flame Bob Preston, a house painter Caprice frequently employs. When he's found dead in a pool of green paint swirling with blood, it's time for Caprice to stage an investigation. With all eyes trained on Bella's husband, Caprice shifts her attention from finding the perfect curtains to finding the perfect culprit. . .


My Review

DEADLY DECOR is a perfect followup to the first book in this series, STAGED TO DEATH.

Carpirce De Luca, the namesake of this series, once again finds herself embroiled in a murder. This time her own sister, Bella, as well as Bella's husband, Joe, are both suspects in the killing!

Honestly, Ms. Smith had me scrambling for a guess on this one. She wrote in plenty of red herrings to throw the reader off track. I never did guess correctly! Once I knew "whodunit", I realized just how clever the author had been.

Decorating, the retro look, love of animals, strong relationships, and of course a great mystery, ensure there will be further adventures in the Caprice De Luca Mystery series.

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ON BORROWED TIME
Book 5 in the Library Lover's Mystery series
by
Jenn McKinlay

The New York Times bestselling Library Lover's mysteries continue with a hot new case...

Loving a good cup of coffee runs in the family for Briar Creek library director Lindsey Norris. But when her brother, Jack, a consultant for a coffee company, goes missing, her favorite beverage becomes a key clue in a dangerous mystery.

Between preparing the library for the holidays and juggling the affections of ex-boyfriend, Captain Mike Sullivan, and her new crush, actor Robbie Vine, Lindsey has her hands full. But the mysterious disappearance of her world-traveling playboy brother takes precedence over all.

Afraid that involving the police could brew trouble for Jack, Lindsey takes matters into her own hands. But as her quest for her brother embroils her in a strange case involving South American business dealings and an enigmatic and exotic woman, it’ll take the help of both her library book club—the crafternooners—and her eager-to-please suitors to keep Jack from ending up in hot water…

My Review

I have to start this review by saying Jenn McKinlay is one of my all time favorite authors. As I mention, a lot, her Cupcake Bakery series was the first cozy series I ever read, and sealed my love for cozies. This series, her Library Lover’s Mysteries, is the second cozy series I read. I looked up every book Ms. McKinlay has ever written, bought and read them all. If you like a good mystery, cozy or otherwise, funny, memorable characters, witty writing, and a well thought out plot, you have got to try Jenn McKinlay’s books!

ON BORROWED TIME is book 5 in the Library Lover’s Mystery series. Brava, Ms. McKinlay! This is the best book in the series so far.

With a fast moving plot, tons of action, an ending I didn’t see coming, I read ON BORROWED TIME in record time. I didn’t want to put it down, and I certainly didn’t want it to end. And with lines and scenes like the following…
She thought the idea of living on an island year-round was romantic, but she didn’t know if she could do it. >>> It had a certain allure, like not shaving her armpits or legs, but then it had a dark side as well---no toilet paper. Yeah, she was out.
…I was laughing out loud through many of the pages.

There are also reading group recommendations and tasty recipes included!

The Library Lover’s Mystery series is one I wish to see continue for a very long time. And, if the future books are anything like this one, my wish is certain to come true.  

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FOR WHOM THE BLUEBELL TOLLS
Book 2 in the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery series
by
Beverly Allen

Deadly thorns lurk among the roses in this Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery

Florist Audrey Bloom, co-owner of the Rose in Bloom, creates fragrant bouquets for brides. But when a wedding goes fatally wrong, it’s up to Audrey to sniff out a killer . . .

 
Everything is coming up roses for Audrey when her dazzling creations are picked to be featured on a wedding reality show. The hot series is filming an episode about a bride who’s bonkers for bells, and Audrey’s bouquets of campanulas, calla lilies, and Bells-of-Ireland are perfect for the bridal theme.
 
But Audrey’s debut quickly becomes a hothouse of trouble. Her ex, Brad, shows up as a crew member on the show, threatening her blossoming relationship with Nick the baker. To make matters worse, when one of the show’s hosts is found dead in the bell tower of a historic church, all the evidence points toward Brad.

Now Audrey needs to weed out the real killer before someone else’s chance at stardom is permanently nipped in the bud . . .


My Review

I have been looking forward to this book ever since finishing the first book in the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery series, BLOOM AND DOOM. Author Beverly Allen did not disappoint me! I was reminded of all the reasons I dubbed this series to be one of my three favorite new series of 2014.

I adore Audrey and her friends and staff. They are a group of people I would love to hang out with. I’d spend a lot of time in the flower shop for sure. And any book that makes me want to be friends with fictional characters, is a book after my own heart.

Ms. Allen has a very smooth, no nonsense writing style. It’s like that of a natural born singer, clear and crisp. Not forced. Her knowledge of flowers and their meanings really shine through. I’ve learned so many interesting facts.

The murder is FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS was done in a way I have never read before. So very creative. The entire story moved and flowed quickly. Each page making me want to read the next and the next, straight through to the shocking reveal. I sure didn’t see that coming!

You will not be disappointed with this book. It will however leave you wanting more. I’m ready for the third book in the series to come out!

Pre-order your copy of FOR WHOM THE BLUEBELL TOLLS today. It releases January 6, 2015!  And while you’re at it, if you haven’t already, buy a copy of BLOOM AND DOOM to read while you wait!  


Have you read any of these titles or authors?

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.

Keep reading for the solutions to yesterday's  
Monday Mystery Mashup

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Monday Mystery Mashup
Solutions

1. Heaven Preserve Us

2. Progressive Dinner Deadly

3. Sudden Death Sudoku

4. Dark Chocolate Demise

5. Seven Threadly Sins

Sunday, December 28, 2014


It's
MONDAY MYSTERY MASHUP

Do you like to solve puzzles?
Do you love to win prizes?
If you said yes to both questions,
you're in the right place! 

It's easy.
Below are five scrambled cozy mystery titles.
Unscramble the titles and enter your answers into 
the Rafflecopter form below.

The more titles you guess correctly, 
the more chances you have to win!

This week's Monday Mystery Mashup is being hosted  by author
Connie Archer!


Connie is giving away a copy of  
A SPOONFUL OF MURDER
Book 1 in her Soup Lovers Mystery series!

Winter is big business in small-town Snowflake, Vermont. Tourists arrive to hit the ski slopes--and what could be more satisfying after a chilly day of carving powder than a steaming bowl of soup?
When Lucky Jamieson inherits her parents' soup shop, By the Spoonful, she realizes it's time to take stock of her life. Should she sell her parents' house or move in herself? Does she really want to run a restaurant business? And what about her grandfather Jack, who seems to be showing signs of Alzheimer's?

But her life decisions are moved to the back burner after an icy blonde tourist is found frozen to death behind the soup shop. and Lucky is bowled over when her soup chef, Sage DuBois, is led out of the kitchen by the police. As suspicion and speculations snowball, Lucky decides that the only way to save her employee and her business is to find out herself who iced the tourist--and landed her chef in the soup...

Giveaway is open to US and Canada

Please only leave your guesses 
through Rafflecopter


Learn more about author Connie Archer


Let's get to unmashing those cozy titles!

1. Evhnae Respeerv Su 

2. Reseirgvpso Nirden Addely

3. Udsden Tehad Ouusdk

4. Akdr Locceotah Emides

5. Eevsn Ehdaltyr Inss

GOOD LUCK! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Lisa Ks Book Reviews
is taking Christmas vacation. 

I'll be back 
Monday December 29
with a new giveaway. 


My wish for you all is 
a very happy and healthy
holiday season.

May all your 
Christmas dreams 
come true. 




Thursday, December 18, 2014


It's
Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring a recipe from the cozy mystery 
CHRISTMAS COZY
Book 11 in the Zoe Donovan Mystery series
by
Kathi Daley

Christmas in Ashton Falls is always a magical time of year. The first big snow has arrived, the tree in the town square has been decorated, the window displays completed, and Hometown Christmas is just around the corner. Zoe finds herself knee deep in holiday shopping and Children’s wishes as she and Zak play host to nine year old Scooter Sherwood and his friend Alex. Although a bit hectic, the magic of Christmas is in full bloom and things couldn’t be more perfect until Zoe finds the body of history teacher Holly Jolly in the Ashton Falls High School Christmas Tree lot run by best friend Levi Denton and is pulled into a dangerous holiday investigation.

14 recipes included - all submitted by readers

On to the yummy recipe!

POTATO CANDY

This recipe holds a special place in my heart. 
This is Verma Doris Kelley's (My Mom) Potato Candy.

I don't remember a Christmas that Mom didn't make her potato candy. It was always a big hit with family and friends. 


Ingredients:

1 large potato (think baking size)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Powdered sugar (confectioner's); have a 2-lb bag at the ready (will not use all)
Peanut butter (creamy works best)


Instructions:

Peel potato and boil in plain hot work until fully cooked (do not add salt!)

Mash potato until there are no lumps. Let cool to room temp. 

Once potato is cool, add in vanilla and as much powdered sugar as needed to make mixture into a rollable, dough like texture.


For a more festive look, divide the candy "dough" and add red food coloring to one half, green to the other.

Roll out into 1/2 inch thick circle. Spread entire surface with creamy peanut butter about a 1/4 inch thick. 

Roll mixture like a jellyroll (log), wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.


Remove from refrigerator, unwrap, and slice into thin slices. 

Keep refrigerated when not serving. 

Perfect and tasty gift.

Drizzle with chocolate for a special treat. Semi-sweet or Dark chocolate would work best since these are very sweet. 

Be sure to give these a try. 
If you do, I'd love to see photos.
PM me on Facebook - Lisa Ks Book Reviews
or
Email them to lisaksbookreview@aol.com

You can purchase 
CHRISTMAS COZY by Kathi Daley 
online


Keep reading and check out my installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
and
The Friday 56

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

Keeping my Cozy Food Friday theme going with 
CHRISTMAS COZY by Kathi Daley
Book 11 in the Zoe Donovan Mystery series
My Book Beginnings for this week..

Friday. December 5

"Frosty the Snowman" blared over the loudspeaker as I helped my best friend, Levi Denton, set up for the first annual Ashton Falls High School Christmas Tree Lot. Levi is a couch and physical education teacher at the high school, and as a teacher, he was required to preform a certain number of adjunct (extracurricular) hours each year. Because he hadn't logged any hours in the past two years, he'd been asked---ordered---by Principal Joe Lamé to manage the tree lot, which would be staffed by the students who'd volunteered to cover the various shifts. 

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

Continuing with the CHRISTMAS COZY theme
My Friday 56...

Something just wasn't adding up. How could a woman with such a big heart not have any close friends?

And just for fun.

CHRISTMAS COZY
Page 32

"I've been dying to try Lisa's recipe for potato candy, so maybe if we invite her, she can be persuaded to bring the candy as her offering." 

She's talking about me! :-) 
How fun is that?


As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.

Keep reading for the answers to yesterday's 
Match It.

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ANSWERS

 Victoria "Tori" Sinclair - Southern Sewing Circle

 Minnie Hamilton - Bookmobile Cat

Glory Martine - Haunted Souvenir Shop 

Jenna Hart - Cookbook Nook 

Izzy McHale - Pet Boutique