Thursday, July 30, 2015

FUDGING THE BOOKS by Daryl Wood Gerber
A GILDED GRAVE by Shelley Freydont
CRUSHED VELVET by Diane Vallere  

Book 4 in the Cookbook Nook Mystery series 
by Daryl Wood Gerber 

The Agatha Award–winning author of Stirring the Plot returns to the Cookbook Nook in Crystal Cove, California, where February brings Pirate Week, National Chocolate Month—and bitter murder…

Pirate Week is sweeping through Crystal Cove and keeping Jenna Hart and her bookstore, the Cookbook Nook, plenty busy. But she’s not too swamped to also host the local Chocolate Cookbook Club’s meeting—especially because the guest of honor is her friend, candy maker and cookbook author Coco Chastain.

Jenna whips up a delicious event amidst the rowdy festivities, but the mood is soon broken by robberies, simmering tempers, and a dead body—Coco’s editor, Alison. The suspects turn out to be more plentiful than a pot full of gold doubloons, so to prove Coco isn’t responsible for the dastardly deed, Jenna will have to stir up some clues and figure out who’s the real sticky-fingered killer…



The Cookbook Nook Mystery series is one I keep at the top of my favorites list. When I finish reading a book in this series, I get right online to find out how long I’ll have to wait for the next. For the record, the wait time between books in a cozy mystery series is normally around a year. But with this series, it feels like more like two years. So, I can say with all honesty, the worst part of this book was finishing it and beginning my wait!

With perfect settings like Crystal Cove, and the Cookbook Nook and its café, it was wonderful to become lost between the covers of this delightful mystery.

Author Daryl Wood Gerber really throw everything into this story. In this installment, one of my favorite cast of characters is dealing with pirates, thieves, and chocolate! Oh…and murder of course! Fast paced, full of twisty turns and tons of surprises, FUDGING THE BOOKS, is my new favorite in this series. I know, I say that a lot, but when it’s true…hey, it’s true!

Fans of this series and of author Daryl Wood Gerber/Avery Aames are going to go mad over the sweet bounty that is FUDGING THE BOOKS. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, you can start with this one and not feel lost. But please, do go back and read the others too!

And check out the back of the book for yummy chocolate recipes, and the sneak peek of FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, book seven in the Cheese Shop Mystery series by Avery Aames.  


Book 1 in the Newport Gilded Age Mystery series 
by Shelley Freydont 

First in a new series from the author of the Celebration Bay mysteries
In 1895, the height of the Gilded Age, the social elite spend their summers in Newport, Rhode Island. Within the walls of their fabulous “cottages,” competition for superiority is ruthless … and so are the players. 
During her first Newport season, Deanna Randolph attends a ball given in honor of Lord David Manchester, a Barbadian sugar magnate, and his sister, Madeline. The Manchesters are an immediate success—along with their exotic manservant and his fortune-telling talents.
But on the nearby cliffs, a young maid lies dead—and suspicion falls on Joseph Ballard, a member of one of the town’s most prestigious families. 
Joe humiliated Deanna when he rebuffed an engagement to her, but while he may be a cad, she knows he isn’t a killer. Now the reluctant allies must navigate a world of parties, tennis matches, and séances to find the real murderer. But a misstep among the glittering upper classes could leave them exposed to something far more dangerous than malicious gossip…


A delightful debut novel. Author Shelley Freydont has made a wonderful transition from the twenty-first century cozy mystery to the nineteenth century historical mystery. It is so clear she has done her research of the Gilded Age. Her character’s words, behavior, and mannerisms are all perfect for the era.

Deanna Randolph is an unlikely sleuth, yet in the talented hands of author Freydont, she is not only believable, she is very much up to the task. It’s going to be interesting to watch Deanna grow as the series continues.

This was an incredibly well plotted mystery with more suspects than a few. With twists and turns all the way to the exciting end, I second, third, and fourth guessed myself and yes, still guessed wrong!

A GILDED GRAVE is sure to be a hit with historical and cozy mystery fans alike.


Book 3 in the Italian Kitchen Mystery series 
by Rosie Genova

The national bestselling author of The Wedding Soup Murder returns to the Jersey Shore where a killer is stirring up trouble during a hurricane…

At the Casa Lido, the end of summer means a party, and hit whodunit writer Victoria “Vic” Rienzi and her family are cooking like crazy for the restaurant’s seventieth anniversary celebration. As they chop onions and garlic, old family friend Pete Petrocelli stops by, saying he knows something that would make for a good mystery novel. Curious, Vic asks Nonna to elaborate on Pete’s claim and learns of a relative who mysteriously disappeared back in Italy…

The night of the party brings a crowd—and a full throttle hurricane. When the storm finally passes, everyone thinks they’re in the clear—until the first casualty is found, and it’s Pete. Remembering his visit, Vic isn’t certain Pete’s death was an accident and decides to dig deeper into his story. What she finds is meatier than Nonna’s sauce…


Blend together a book full of mystery with pages of humor and briskly mix them together with the Jersey shore and authentic Italian cooking. Stir it all together with a hurricane and you will have murder and intrigue in a recipe called A DISH BEST SERVED COLD.

In this third installment of the Italian Kitchen Mystery series, author Rosie Genova serves us a mystery that boils and burns with surprises in a tightly plotted story that is penned with skill. With that same delightful writing style of the first two books in the series, MURDER AND MARINARA, and THE WEDDING SOP MURDER, Ms. Genova has outdone herself with a story that will not only have you questioning yourself, it will leave you breathless by the time you reach the exciting conclusion.

A DISH BEST SERVED COLD is the perfect addition to a delicious series and is sure to whet your appetite for more.

Don’t miss the great Italian recipes author Genova has included in the back of the book!


Book 2 in the Material Witness Mystery series
by Diane Vallere

“Diane Vallere has stitched up an engaging new series.”—Sofie Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of the Magical Cats Mysteries

Fabric shop owner Polyester Monroe is back in business—this time getting wrapped up in a diabolical but crafty case of murder.

With opening day of Material Girl approaching, Poly is stocking up on lush fabrics, colorful notions, and best of all, a proprietary weave of velvet. But upon delivery, it’s not quite the blend she expected, being ninety-percent silk and ten-percent corpse. Crushed under a dozen bolts of fabric is Phil Girard. His wife, Genevieve, local tea shop owner and close friend of Poly, is the prime suspect.

Granted, Phil may not have been the perfect husband, but surely Genevieve had no reason to kill him! There’s just the small matter of Genevieve’s own incriminating confession: I’m afraid I killed my husband. Now, as Material Girl’s grand opening looms, Poly is torn between a friendship pulling apart at the seams—and finding a smooth killer with a velvet touch…



If I had material like CRUSHED VELVET to read all the time, I could zip through books faster than running my nylons or snagging my cotton blends.  :-)

I am such a fan of the Material Witness Mystery series. Book one, SUEDE TO REST was a great first installment, but it doesn’t compare to the wonderfully textured read that is CRUSHED VELVET.

I hardly put this book down from the moment I opened it until sadly, it was over, with no more to read. I simply didn’t want it to end. Between the wonderful writing, twists and turns, delightful characters like Polyester Monroe, and adorably punny shop names such as Material Girl and Flowers In The Attic, this book kept a smile on my face the entire time I was reading.

Author Diane Vallere has sewn together a mystery that mixed just the right weave of intrigue, action, and humor to make this cozy whodunit a serious contender for my favorite book of the 2015. It is for sure in my top 5 favorites.

Stitch together some time for reading and add CRUSHED VELVET to your “must read” list. If you haven’t read the first book. SUEDE TO REST, get them both and read them back to back. You’re going to love them!

And don’t miss the fun craft project, and excerpt from SILK STALKINGS, book three in the fantastic series! 


Book 3 in the Chili Cook-Off Mystery series
by Kylie Logan

The author of Death by Devil’s Breath takes the chili cook-off circuit to southern Texas to prove that revenge is a dish best served hot . . .

Everyone in San Antonio remembers the Alamo, but how many remember the Chili Queens? Back in the early twentieth century, these spicy señoras sold their lip-smacking chili in plazas all around the city. Now, as part of the Chili Showdown, Maxie and her half-sister, Sylvia, are dressing up as the Chili Queens to raise money for charity.

But someone wasn’t feeling too charitable toward a local troubadour, who is murdered at the fundraiser. When their friend Nick Falcone, head of security for the Showdown, actually becomes the prime suspect, it’s up to Maxie and Sylvia to turn the heat up on a killer, who’s planning a chili reception for them . . .



Let me start off by saying this. If you haven’t read a book by author Kylie Logan, you have been missing out on some wonderfully fun and well written mysteries. It’s my suggestion that you change that today. The Chili Cook-Off Mystery series is a good place to start!

REVENGER OF THE CHILI QUEEN was simply a pleasure to read. The combinations of author Logan’s skillful writing and her sense for plotting a great mystery, took me on a fun ride through this fabulous story.

I love series lead Maxie and her half-sister Sylvia. They have a great dynamic that insures any scene with them together is going to be fun to read. I also think Maxie and I would get along great. We can both be a little sarcastic.  ;-)

The discovery of the body comes pretty early in the book and from that point on, it was a thrill ride of mystery and surprises. There were several time where I even held my breath, with the longest being near the end of the book during the killer’s reveal. Honestly, if that part has been a few pages longer, I may have passed out from lack of oxygen!

Congratulations, Ms. Logan. REVENGE OF THE CHILI QUEENS was the best in the series to date!

Included in the back of the book is a yummy tummy rumbling chili recipe, and also an excerpt of, AND THEN THERE WERE NUNS, book four in her League Of Literary Ladies Mystery series! 

All of these great titles are now 
available for pre-order
Release date:
Tuesday, August 4

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

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  1. Wow, Lisa...Thanks! Great reviews! You've been a busy reader! 😁

    1. No so much a busy reader as a lazy reviewer. I didn't review after each book, so I had a bunch of reviews to finish at one time. But I work well at crunch time. ;-)

  2. So many books, so little time. All of them sound great! How do you do it, Lisa?

    I enjoyed your reviews. :)

    1. LOL I do it until I can't see straight and my eyes hurt. but I love every minute of it! Thank you Susan, for your kind words about my reviews.

  3. Just when I think I will get caught up a little on my TBR pile, you come up with more!

    1. LOL You could always stop coming to the blog until you catch up. No! Don't you dare do that! :-)

  4. Wow. My hat is off to you for having read all these books already! I'm working my way through one of them and enjoying it, but there's no way I could have gotten through 4 by now.