Showing posts with label mystery book reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery book reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Review of The Only Clue: A Gorilla Novel by Pamela Beason

Review of The Only Clue: A Gorilla Novel by Pamela Beason: Mother Gorilla with Baby
 Image by Curtis Yancey from Pixabay 

The Open House


It was obvious to Grace McKenna that Neema, the mother gorilla, was worried and getting closer to a melt-down. She and her baby Kanoni weren't used to so many humans around.They weren't used to hearing blaring music, seeing and smelling popcorn carts, and having reporters and cameramen constantly in their faces. They really hated the smell of the portable toilets that had been brought into the area surrounding their compound for the day.

Gumu, the huge father gorilla, was the most upset of all. He had retreated to his "nest" --  a bunch of tangled blankets at the top of his two-story enclosure. Although Gumu was twice Neema's size, he was much more afraid of strangers than she was. When he was a baby back in Africa, he had watched helplessly while poachers shot the rest of his family and cut up them into pieces.

Neema, Gumu and Kanoni trusted very few humans. Grace McKenna and her staff and volunteers were about the only humans the gorillas would let get near them. Grace was studying the ability of the gorillas to learn language. Neema knew about 500 words of sign language. She could use her sign language vocabulary intelligently with humans and with her gorilla family.

The local college was funding Grace's studies, and the board had insisted on this Open House as a prerequisite for continuing their funding. Grace had a splitting headache, there were rude children teasing the gorillas, and Grace just wanted the whole event to be over.

She was glad when her boyfriend Detective Matt Finn and his helper finally ushered all the visitors out. They had volunteered to handle security for the event. Matt invited Grace to relax at his place for the night. The staff had a party on their trailer on the compound.

Back in the Gorilla Enclosures

Image by m k from Pixabay 


After the humans were gone, Neema ate some strawberries and wanted to play. She went in search of Gumu, but he wasn't in his nest. So she took Kanoni back to her own nest in the barn to see if Gumu was there. But he wasn't anywhere. Instead all she found was a big wet spot on the floor.

"Creeping closer to the big dark wet, holding Kanoni tight, she looked at the spot out of the corner of her eye. Red wet. She leaned close. Meat smell. She touched her fingers to the red and tasted the wet. Meat wet. Red meat smell. Bad, hurt, she signed."
Where was Gumu? She wondered if Gumu was meat and was never coming back. She turned to the back of the barn and saw the wall was open a crack. It had never been open before. She pushed the wall away, grabbed Kanoni, and went outside to search for Gumu.

The Next Morning


When Grace went to feed the gorillas the next morning, all was quiet in the barn. She called them to breakfast, but no gorillas came. They were gone. Someone had removed the padlock from the outside of the door. Matt began to look for evidence, since the animals could not have escaped by themselves. Then Jon Zyrnek, the staff member who got along best with Gumu, discovered the huge puddle of blood and called them all over.

Matt immediately wanted to put out an all points bulletin, but Grace nixed it. Many of their neighbors in their town of Evansburg opposed having the gorillas in their neighborhood in the first place. They had gotten out once before and they were almost closed down then. Word of the escape getting out would endanger their funding, as well.

Grace finally talked Matt into investigating the the disappearance by himself and the staff promised to keep quiet. They canceled all the volunteer shifts, saying that Jon had the flu and they'd all been exposed. They couldn't chance passing it to the gorillas.  They also made up a story about a valuable missing dog that had been at the open house. They needed to report some case involving an animal to get the blood they had found tested at the lab. Jon and Grace continued to search outside, calling and naming the gorillas' favorite foods, but no gorillas responded.

The Undercurrents


Matt doesn't like Jon because he and the volunteer staff are all part of the Animal Rights Union that has been freeing lab and other animals they believe are mistreated. They've all been arrested and Jon had served time. They had begun their volunteer work with the gorillas as a community service sentence. But they enjoyed the work so much they kept at it.

Matt is sure Jon and the others are involved somehow. The gorillas are very valuable, especially since they can sign and paint. The sale of their paintings has helped fund the work. Jon's father recently got out of prison. Matt also considers him a suspect. 

Grace is worried about whether her gorillas can survive on their own in the woods, if that's where they are. She's convinced at least one of them has been killed. When you read the book, you will also be concerned for them and wonder what happened. I couldn't stop reading.

My Review  


I recommend this book to those who are interested in the intelligence of gorillas and their ability to talk to humans. They would find the book fascinating even if there were no mystery. I read this, the second book in the Neema series, because I had enjoyed the first book so much. Now I see a third book is also available and I plan to read that one, too. I like learning more about the capabilities of gorillas. But I also like trying to solve the mystery.

I would recommend this to any animal lover who likes mysteries  It's full of not only gorillas, but also dogs and Neema's two pet cats. The human characters are believable, though Matt seems to have a stereotyped view of Jon. The animal characters are also well-developed.

I found myself looking for clues right along with the detectives. The author shows us not only what the humans are doing, but also what Neema is doing. We know just enough to hope that the story will end happily, but we still have to wonder until the very end.

You might also be interested in my review of the first book in the series: The Only Witness.






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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Book Review of The 9th Girl and the sequel, Cold Cold Heart


Author Tami Hoag has written over 40 books. first in the Romance genre and then in the crime/mystery/suspense/thriller genres. She has written several series, my favorite being the Kovac & Liska series. 

I have been currently re-reading my collection of Tami Hoag mysteries, beginning with my favorite series with characters Sam Kovac and his partner, the wisecracking Nikki Liska whom Sam calls 'Tink' (for Tinkerbell) because she's petite, though tough and determined. They are homicide detectives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

After finishing the fourth book in the series (The 9th Girl), I happened to pick up one of Tami Hoag's standalone books to read next (Cold Cold Heart) and realized it was a sequel to The 9th Girl. Therefore, I will review both of these books for you today. 


The 9th Girl



Available on Amazon
It is a frigid New Year's Eve in Minneapolis when a body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Detectives Kovak & Liska are called to the scene. Unidentified, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year. The detectives need to find out not only who she is, but who wanted her dead. 

Not only is she the ninth Jane Doe of the year, but she may be the ninth victim of a vicious, transient serial killer the police call Doc Holiday. Doc Holiday chooses his victims at random, snatching them in one city and leaving them in another, always on a holiday.

When another young woman disappears, the case heats up while the detectives try to find the promising young TV reporter, Dana Nolan before she becomes another victim.




Cold Cold Heart



Available on Amazon
The 9th Girl novel ends with Dana Nolan becoming the only one of Doc Holiday's victims to survive. Cold Cold Heart is her struggle to recover from the physical, emotional and psychological trauma she endured.  After months in the hospital and a rehab center, Dana returns to the small Indiana town she left to work in Minneapolis.  

Cold Cold Heart begins with Dana still in the hospital and Kovak & Liska making a brief appearance in the first 2 chapters (a continuation from The 9th Girl) where they try to learn the details of what happened. The problem is, Dana doesn't remember much due to suffering a brain injury at the hands of the killer. 

As Dana continues to recover and returns to her family home, media interest brings up the unsolved case of Dana's childhood best friend who disappeared without a trace 7 years ago, the summer after their high school graduation. Viewing life differently because of her injuries and needing something to focus on other than the flashbacks and nightmares and the torment of post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers, Dana begins to look into her past. But the truth of her friend's disappearance may prove to be too terrible to be believed. 



Notes from the Author:



Author Tami Hoag
Tami Hoag suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as a child which went undiagnosed for many years. Luckily, her only side effects are occasional severe headaches. She also has a friend whose husband suffered a TBI in the military. Combine the consequences with PTSD and the problems worsen.  PTSD is not a condition exclusive to the war-injured military, but also experienced by victims of crimes and other tragedies.

Ms. Hoag believes that many people are not aware of how these injuries affect the people suffering from them and their loved ones. The post-brain injury person is often not ever again the pre-brain injury person remembered by friends and family and this becomes difficult to deal with and understand. 

Tami thought perhaps having her character in Cold Cold Heart suffering from TBI and PTSD would help readers understand both people who are afflicted and those who live with them.

A well-written story ~ with a message.  



For more book reviews on ReviewThisReviews, check out


(c) Written by Wednesday Elf 7/6/2019




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Friday, July 5, 2019

Missing in Beaver Falls Book Reviewed


Missing in Beaver Falls Book Reviewed

Missing in Beaver Falls Mystery Reviewed
Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 4
 
The Roni Rainer Mystery Series written by Beverly Owens is my favorite cozy mystery series ever.  I find the characters easy to love and fun to know.  There have been times when I wished they were real life people so I could interact with them. I would really like to sit down and have a long chat with Kitchi, the old Mide.

Roni Rainer, the main character and owner of the Revived up-cycling shop, is always trying to help everyone around her.  That is a character I can easily respect.  I have no doubt we would be immediate friends.  Her employees, Charlotte and Clay are just quirky enough to adore, yet also wish to protect.

Charlotte's ability to take something useless and make it into a work of art, fascinates me. While I enjoy recreating the item described in my minds eye, I would love to see them in reality.  


Missing In Beaver Falls


When a local girl goes missing, the town is divided on what they believed happened to her. Some believe she ran off, while others believe she was abducted. 

Most of us already know, new residents in a small town are not always immediately embraced, especially if they arrive with an arrogant attitude.  Being attractive and young doesn't help either.  The local girls often feel an immediate dislike due to jealousy.  After all, single men are limited and the new competition is not appreciated.

Tiffany Abbott was not well liked by most of the residents in Beaver Falls. While they appreciate her ability to cut and style hair that best flatters every face, that is the extent of their praise for her.  However, the men seem to find her very appealing.  Her admirers include Zack Maxwell, a young, local deputy. 

Several of the Beaver Falls residents are empaths, which literally means they are "a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual."  Because they have visions of where Tiffany is, Roni believes Tiffany is alive and she starts searching and watching for the things that have been "seen" by the empaths.




To find out what really happened to Tiffany Abbott, you will need to read "Missing in Beaver Falls".  This book could be read and enjoyed alone.  However, if you wish to really get to know the characters, you might prefer to start with Book 1, Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery.




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Roni Rainer Series Books Previously Reviewed on ReviewThisReviews.com


Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling MysteryDeath Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 1)

A truly fabulous story with several very endearing characters. Each character was more like a real person with real lives, real concerns and even real fears and danger.



The small town of Beaver Falls is shocked when the body of Mateo Hernandez is discovered. Why was this innocent young man murdered? What had he witnessed? A spellbinding mystery that you will definitely want to read.


Roni Rainiers peace and tranquility is shattered when she discovers a dead body in her favorite place for solitude. Why would anyone wish to kill this gentle giant of a man.



Missing in Beaver Falls Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Catnip by Valerie Tate: A Book Review

Catnip: A Hilarious Cat Mystery


What happens when a cat does really run the house? If, in fact, the cat owns the house? Find out in this first book of the Dunbarton Mystery series that stars the orange cat named, of course, Marmalade.

 Catnip by Valerie Tate:  A Book Review
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay, Text Added in PicMonkey
Though the title of this book is not unique, the book is.

The Characters 


Lawyer Christopher Mallory narrates the story, which begins in his office in the fictional city of Dunbarton on the shores of Lake Huron, as he reads a will. The family of longtime widow Amanda Dunbar has gathered to see how rich they will become. All that remains of the family are son James, daughter-in-law Alice, and granddaughter Alicia.The one most concerned about the inheritance is Alice. She had pressured Mallory to read the will right after Amanda's burial.

The deceased, Amanda Dunbar, had been widowed for twenty-six years. Her husband had been a prominent citizen and financier, descended from the town's founder. Among other assets, he had owned a furniture factory. Robert Allen Dunbar had been very wealthy and had left everything to Amanda. When he died, he had meant for his sons James and Robert to take over the factory.

Robert was as talented as his father in handling finances and James loved creating the fine furniture. Then Robert died in an auto accident and James had to handle everything. He was not good at business and the factory was not in good financial shape. James was hoping his inheritance would help save it.

James had married Alice against the  wishes of his mother, who couldn't stand  her. Alice dominated him, but James still adored her. Their daughter Alicia had gone off to college as a strong independent woman and came home broken, a shadow of her former self. We later find this was because of unrequited love.

The family had lived with Amanda and her cat Marmalade for twenty-six years. When she became crippled and confined to a wheelchair, they had to help out with her care. From Alice's point of view, she had waited on Amanda hand and foot while Amanda made Alice's life miserable. There was definitely no love lost between the two. Alice also hated Marmalade. Alicia loved Marmalade, and Marmalade at least tolerated her.

Those are the major characters, all of whom will suddenly find their lives changing after the will is read.

The Plot (without spoilers)  

The Reading of the Will


Amanda knew her family well. Christopher (henceforth called Chris) described Amanda this way as he remembered the day she called him to her home to witness her signing a new will she had written. He sized her up as "an autocratic lady with a shrewd expression and an underlying core of steel... a person not to be trifled with."  She had insisted her new will must be kept secret from everyone -- especially her family.

At the beginning of the book when Chris describes the family members entering his office, he recalls that James "seemed to fade into the wallpaper beside his more flamboyant spouse." He recalls that Alicia "drifted in behind her parents, gazed around with a disinterested air, and melted gracefully into a chair by the wall." Alice had "sailed into his office...with the assurance of the flagship of the fleet...about as warm as a Huron January....A gleam in her Ice Queen eyes...said she was about to get everything she had been waiting for." She showed no signs of grief.

 Catnip by Valerie Tate:  A Book Review


Chris knew an emotional storm was about to break in his office when he read the will. The old lady had made him executor and trustee and explained what his duties would be when she died. She had made her intentions very clear. He knew she was using the will to tell her family what she really thought of them. She admits in the will that living together had been uncomfortable for all of them.  She stated it was a wonder "That I have chosen to tolerate the chronic irritability of my daughter-in-law, the infuriating ineptitude of my son, and the vague placidity of my grand-daughter (sic)."

Chris proceeded to read the will. Here's what each got:

  • Alice: two gallons of vinegar with the hope it would sweeten her disposition
  • James: a can of starch to stiffen his backbone that hadn't been firm since he married Alice
  • Alicia: her jewelry "in the hope that one day she may prick her finger and awaken from that perennial slumber she now enjoys."
 Alice had then turned purple with rage and exclaimed with fury: "That old witch!...She made our lives a living hell for almost thirty years and now this...outrage!....When I think of how I waited on her!"

At this point, Chris called his secretary to bring in the last beneficiary -- Marmalade, who immediately spat at Alice, scratched his way out of the secretary's arms, and proceeded to rub against Alicia's leg. She stroked his head. He seemed totally in command of the proceedings. And he actually was. After all, he, as Amanda's "only true friend," was inheriting the entire estate.

 From the will: "since I know my family only too well, should anything happen to Marmalade that even suggests foul play" that anyone in the family had a part in, the estate will go to the Animal Protection Society. The will further stipulates that if Marmalade should die of natural causes, the estate would revert to Alicia "the only member of my family I have any use for."

Amanda appointed Chris as executor and Marmalade's trustee. The family would be allowed to continue to live in the house and care for Marmalade (who would have full run of the house) with all house expenses paid. Each person would get  a monthly allowance which Chris would determine. Chris would check on Marmalade at both scheduled and unscheduled times to make sure he was being cared for properly. If anyone mistreated him, they would lose their allowance and have to leave the house. Then Chris would hire a new caregiver and companion.

Living With Marmalade

 Catnip by Valerie Tate:  A Book Review
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


As you can imagine, the Dunbar household was very tense living with a cat who was the boss. Nowhere in the house was off limits for him. He seemed to delight in destroying things Alice valued. The last straw was reached when she was carrying a family heirloom tea service that had belonged to her grandmother to the table during one of Chris's visits. Marmalade tripped her, and the china broke spilling tea all over Alice's gown. She grabbed him, intent on doing him violence when Chris shouted a warning to remember the will. She told Chris to get the cat out of her sight for a while.

Before the death of Amanda, Marmalade had been a cat-about-town visiting his neighbors at night as he pleased. He had usually let himself in and out through the window in Amanda's room.

When Amanda died Chris took Marmalade to the vet to get a microchip inserted and obtain a DNA sample from him.  For obvious reasons the family and Chris were reluctant  to let him start roaming free again.  But the cat was getting into so much mischief indoors, they decided his confinement in the house might be a contributing factor. So they began to let him roam when he wanted to again. That seemed to help calm things down in the household.

Marmalade Goes Missing

Once the information got out to the public that Marmalade was rich, he was in danger. Although he was pretty good at defending himself, he finally was abducted. This put the family into a panic, since family members were the first suspects. And if Marmalade wasn't found safe and sound, they would lose their home and their allowances. Chris did not believe they were guilty, and he and Alicia began to search for him with help from some of their friends. You will have to read the book to see what happens to Marmalade and all of them. 


My Review and Recommendation


I loved this book! It's not just about solving a mystery. It's about how people can change when they are motivated. Amanda's strange will was intended to help her son become all he could be by motivating him to take leadership. Amanda also hoped it would help Alicia regain her spirit and independence. And Alice? I don't know if Amanda had any hope that she would ever be good for James. But even she changed for the better by the end of the book.

I laughed all the way through this book as the characters interacted with each other and the cat. I enjoyed watching the romance begin to develop between Chris and Alicia. Although the book is a mystery, I felt the development of the characters was the heart of the book. And, of course, Marmalade behaved as you might expect a pampered cat to behave. He seemed to know he was in control and flaunted it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves cats or mysteries and likes to laugh. I was glad I was able to discern who kidnapped Marmalade by using the author's clues. This was just the book I needed to read when I didn't feel up to working and wanted to completely relax. I think you will find it a fun, relaxing read, as well. Why not get it now?







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Friday, April 27, 2018

Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed

Illegal Harvest:  An Upcycling Mystery Reviewed

Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 2) 


A few months back, I was delighted to review Death Takes A Spin:  An Up-cycling Mystery which is the first book in the series.  Today I want to introduce you to the second book in this fabulous series by Beverly Owens.

If you have read Death Takes A Spin, you will already be familiar with the main characters in these books.  However, if you have not read that book, please allow me to give you a quick list and description of them.


The Characters of Illegal Harvest:  An Up-cycling Mystery


Roni Rainer inherited her grandmother's antique store, Revived.  In an attempt to keep the store profitable, Roni has started up-cycling (renewing) old decor in order to make it have new appeal.  After all, the current generation does not embrace antiques just because they are "antiques".   

Her employees definitely help to make the store, and the book, a success.  Clay is most often the first employee you would meet if you entered the shop.  He is delightfully animated and fun, especially when he encounters a spider.   In spite of his fear of spiders, he genuinely cares for his co-worker, Charlotte, his favorite "little spider".   Charlotte has an artistic eye for up-cycling, which makes her an invaluable employee.  She can simply look at a piece and her mind is flooded with ideas for creating a unique work of art in furnishings and home decor.  Her work is extremely popular with customers.  There seems to be a touch of romance in the air between Charlotte and CC, a temporary employee who appears to be making a permanent place for himself at the shop.

Valerie is Roni's best friend and divorce attorney.  Together they head the committee responsible for the planning and development of the new Beaver Falls skate park.  The two friends were appointed by the city benefactor, Willie Smythe, who was murdered in the first book, Death Takes A Spin

Kitchi is also a very important character in the book.  He is Roni's dear friend and "adopted" grandfather who has taught her the ways of his American Indian ancestors. This will prove to be a valuable resource for Roni in the Illegal Harvest plot. 

Last, but by no means least, you will also get to know Mitch, a deputy sheriff who recently returned to Beaver Falls.  Mitch has long been in love with Roni, but is patiently waiting for her and the right time.


The Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery Plot


 Illegal Harvest: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries)
Check Price
Still recovering from the last murder in their small town, Beaver Falls is once again shocked when the body of Mateo Hernandez is discovered.  No one can fathom why this young man would be killed.  He has certainly never been the cause of any trouble.  When a nearly starved and terrified woman shows up in town, she is able to shed light on why Mateo is dead and why she fears for her own life. 

Roni finds herself in grave danger when she crosses the path of the murderers.  She knows just enough to be suspicious, perhaps even frightened, but not enough to know anything for certain.  However, the murderers know she is watching and they warn her to back off.  Between her deceptive husband, the warnings from the killers, and her deepest concern for her two daughters, Roni finds little peace.  Her normally safe environment has definitely been disrupted.  


My Recommendation


The Roni Rainer series is an easy enough read that I won't hesitate to recommend that you read both books in order.  The first book in the series does a thorough introduction and develops each character to such a degree that you feel you know them personally.  I believe knowing them beforehand will help tremendously when reading the second book, Illegal Harvest.  

Both books are spellbinding mysteries that you will definitely want to read! Both books are available in paperback and for Kindles.



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House of Sylvestermouse







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Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Coffeehouse Mysteries - A Series Review

The Coffeehouse Mysteries - a cozy book series review
Buy the Coffeehouse Mysteries by clicking here!
If you love reading murder mysteries in coffee shops then Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse books are ideal for you. Well maybe not the one where the caramel chocolate latte is poisoned, but.....

I do like murder mysteries - both the easy to read cozy mysteries (which Cleo Coyle's ones are) and the grittier ones by the likes of Ruth Rendell or Kathy Reichs.

The Coffeehouse books are a little different in that they involve coffee - yes a whole series of books that unite both coffee and murder, want to know more?

Let's review the series of The Coffeehouse Mysteries, be warned this could become almost as addictive as your morning cup of Joe!

Clare Cosi is the Star of the Coffeehouse Mysteries

A Coffee Lover & Sleuth Too!

Clare Cosi is the heroine of these murder mysteries and she works as manager (soon to be partner) of The Village Blend a coffee shop that has been in Greenwich Village, New York for decades as it was started by her ex-mother-in-law, referred to simply as Madame!

As well as being the manager Clare seems to somehow have a connection to murder on a regular basis and then wants to solve the case - her ex-husband (and soon to be partner in The Village Blend) claims she has a Nancy Drew fixation ........and he might not be wrong.

Throughout the book Clare shares little tidbits about coffee - making it, the differences between beans, coffee folklore and more. To give you some background Clare moved away from New York with her daughter Joy when her marriage ended and only recently returned to New York for the first book in the series - On What Grounds. During the time she was away she worked as a food and coffee writer so has all of this knowledge which gets sprinkled through the books.

Clare has a good relationship with her ex, but the man she'd like in her life is a Police Detective called Mike Quinn which is pretty handy when you're after details of a case as well. Clare also has a good relationship with her ex-mother-in-law who is also a little nosy and loves to help Clare out when she's trying to solve a case.

Reviewing the Coffeehouse Mysteries
Image from Pixabay, adapted by Lou of Lou's Designs

Why I Like The Coffeehouse Mysteries Book Series

The murder mysteries always seem to have a connection to The Village Blend Coffeehouse which could give you pause before drinking there ....... unless you like puffer fish that is. For those of you who don't 'get' that sentance then you need to read book #3 - Latte Trouble!

What sets these books apart from other whodunnits is the coffee. As I mentioned before sprinkled throughout the books are little bits of coffee trivia which I found really interesting. The trivia didn't detract from the story line, but it did add another layer to the story which I enjoyed.

To further seal the coffee influence with these books you'll find recipes from the stories at the end of the book. If you're in a book club you could recreate a Caramel Chocolate Latte to drink while you discuss the ins and outs of Latte Trouble to really get in the mood.

Who is Cleo Coyle?

The Author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries

Cleo Coyle is actually two people, husband and wife writing team - Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini. They released the first book - On What Grounds - in September 2003 and now they even have their own website with recipes and a forum for fans - The Virtual Village Blend.

Cleo Coyle Books in Order

I'm linking to books here for you, but I should mention that I've been reading the kindle editions of these books and am thoroughly enjoying reading them that way.

On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 1) is the first of these books and it's where Clare Cosi returns to take over as the manager of The Village Blend.

I actually haven't read this book yet as I started off reading book 2, then book 3 and I haven't looked back! I will read it once I've finished the rest of the series though.


 Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 2)
Through The Grinder is cool because you get to see inside the murderer's mind without it revealing who the person is.

In this book we also see Mike Quinn's jealous side as Clare gets herself a love interest who (rather predictably) turns out to be a main suspect in a rash of murders made to look like suicides and all customers of the Village Blend.


 Latte Trouble (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 3)
Latte Trouble is the third book in the coffeehouse mysteries and this time the murder hits even closer to home with the murder weapon being a poisoned latte poured by the lovable Tucker - can Clare's chief barista be a murderer?

This book could be the end for Clare as she's taken into the seedy underworld of the fashion industry and drugged, but wait I know I have more of these books so it'll turn out okay!


 Murder Most Frothy (Coffeehouse Mysteries, No. 4)
Murder Most Frothy doesn't actually take place in Greenwich, but at the Hamptons.

In Latte Trouble we were introduced to David Mintzer, celebrity restaurant owner, who was impressed by Clare's coffee knowledge.

In this the fourth book in the series, David has brought Clare, Joy and Madame to stay at his Hamptons' home to help train his staff up as baristas and of course this means that someone is going to be murdered while they're partying their way through a Hamptons' summer.


 Decaffeinated Corpse (A Coffeehouse Mystery Book 5)
Decaffeinated Corpse is the fifth book in this series and is the one I'm currently reading.

One of the interesting things I've found with this book is about how decaffeinated coffee is made because this book is all about a new coffee bean that is grown as a decaffeinated bean.

I was surprised by the first body that we 'meet' in this book (although it's the second murder in chronological order and the first wasn't a surprise to me), when the body fell onto the sidewalk I thought I knew who it was going to be and I was wrong which is always a good start to solving a whodunnit!


The following books are the rest of the series in order. I haven't read these yet, but will add a short description to them as I do.


  • French Pressed 
  • Espresso Shot 
  • Holiday Grind 
  • Roast Mortem 
  • Murder by Mocha 
  • A Brew to a Kill 
  • Holiday Buzz 
  • Billionaire Blend 
  • Once Upon a Grind 
  • Dead to the Last Drop 
  • Dead Cold Brew 
 Due to be released in April 2018 - Shot in the Dark

Do You Love Cozy Mysteries? We Do!

The contributors here at Review This often review books for you and I've found that a lot of us really enjoy a cozy mystery or two, in fact one of our contributors, Bev Owens, has actually published a couple of her own cozy mysteries which are awesome. 

So, if you want a break from the fast pace of New York (where the Coffeehouse Mysteries are set) then why not take a trip to Beaver Falls with Beverly Owen's Up cycling mysteries.

Here are a few of the other cozy mysteries we've reviewed for you..


Cozy Mystery Series ReviewMystery Series Review: Cats, Cupcakes and Killers
Author Sylvia Selfman has done just that with her Izzy Greene series in Cats, Cupcakes and Killers. All seven mysteries are published together ...

Cozy Mysteries and women sleuthsReviewing Cozy Mysteries and Favorite Women Sleuths
Like cozy mysteries starring smart, female sleuths? ... My favorite genre is mystery and right now I'm particularly attracted to easy-to-read cozy mystery stories

Mrs fix it mystery seriesMrs Fix-it Mystery Series Reviewed
A very enjoyable series of mystery books with Mrs Fix It as the female sleuth. ... I was a little sad when I came to the last page of the 15th book.

Reviewing The Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery SeriesReviewing The Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series
I recently read the Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery Series by Leighan Dobbs and enjoyed it immensely. It was pretty easy to get attached to the ...

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee - A Mystery ReviewChef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee - A Mystery Review
A celebrity chef is found dead in a lake. Was it an accident as the police reported? Or was it suicide or murder? Can you solve the mystery ...


We're not all a 'murderous bunch' and we review plenty of other books too, but at the moment I just can't get enough of the cozy mysteries that are out there and I'm sure that you'll love them too.

 If you're not into the more grisly murder mysteries then the cozy mysteries are for you. I once heard them described as the Mills and Boon of mystery books and that made me smile because they are light reading and in general they don't contain descriptive violence (although obviously there is murder involved). I think of them as 'genteel murder mysteries' similar to Agatha Christie's books, but without the nostalgic feel of a different era.

Grab a coffee and let me know what you think of this series of books and don't forget to check out some of the other cozy mysteries too.


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Friday, October 27, 2017

Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery Reviewed

Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries Book 1) 


Death Takes A Spin:  An Up-cycling Mystery - Book Reviewed
When I first started reading "Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery" by Beverly Owens, I did not want to put it down.  I was quickly pulled into the lives of the characters in the book, as well as the mystery surrounding the murder of the bicycle shop owner.  Somewhere around chapter 9, my life interrupted my reading.  I was forced to set the book aside for a few hours.  I honestly don't know why my family thinks they should eat! 

However, during those few hours of preparing and serving dinner, I found myself thinking about the characters and wondering what was really going on in their lives.   That was one of the things I loved most about "Death Takes a Spin".  There is a lot of detail, mystery and mystic woven throughout the pages about each individual's life that was separate from the actual murder mystery of the story.  Each character was more like a real person with real lives, real concerns and even real fears and danger.

I was also captivated by the idea of having an up-cycling store that gave old furniture new life by salvaging usable parts and creating something new and beautiful.  In my crafter's mind, I could easily envision the finished piece because the written descriptions were so vivid.  Since one of my own favorite pastimes happens to be exploring antique malls looking for something special, that concept very much appeals to me.  Although, I readily admit I am not creative enough to take apart several pieces and recreate a new gorgeous piece, I do love the idea. 


Death Takes A Spin:  An Up-cycling Mystery
The Plot 


When Roni Rainer inherits her grandmother's antique store, she opts to give the store a more current day appeal.  Instead of selling antiques, she focuses on redesigning antiques and giving them a modern day appeal.  Her unique approach is well accepted and her business is flourishing.   She has no idea that her life is about to be turned upside down.  She has already heard rumors about her husband, but she dismisses them as being incidents of mistaken identity.  

 Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery
(Roni Rainer Mysteries)
Available for Kindle or Paperback
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Roni is well known in town since she grew up there.  Like many small towns, people know a lot about each other's daily business, as well as their past.  When Roni's old boyfriend, Mitch, returns to town as a deputy sheriff, old questions as well as forgotten hurts, are revived.  

One of his first stops in town is the old antique store.  Mitch is happily surprised to find Roni is there.  She is more than surprised to see Mitch Denton in her shop.  With the initial shock of seeing each other again now behind them, they chat about furniture and Roni accepts a consignment job to make a masculine tea cart for Mitch.  In order to create the tea cart she envisions, she will need bicycle wheels from Willie's bicycle shop.  When she walks into the bike store, she finds Willie dead behind the counter.  Why would anyone kill this benevolent and beloved gentleman who thrived on helping others?

With the mystery of Willie's murder, the return of Mitch Denton, the rumors about her husband, and the need to hire more help in her store, Roni finds herself juggling life events.  During all of it, she has a old and steadfast friend that she can turn to for support.  Kitchi is actually more like a grandfather to her.  He has an unworldly insight coupled with wisdom that helps them all be prepared for what will happen next.  

There are a few other characters who are a very important part of the story.  They are both Roni's employees and are actually pretty endearing themselves.  I found myself wishing to protect both Charlotte and Clay from the cruelties of the world.  Although, life has already prepared them.


Conclusion


I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did!  It is truly fabulous, and I can hardly wait to start reading the second book in the series, Illegal Harvest!  

The first time I ever read an article written by Beverly Owens, I made the comment, " I want to write like that!".  Now all I can say is, I WISH I could write like that!

If and when you have read the book, I would love to hear who your favorite character in the book is.  I can't seem to choose between them. 

One other note, I thought it was pretty cool when I realized the author's husband did the illustration for the book.  Those of us who read on kindles now, often miss seeing the images.  Now that I have a Fire Tablet, I get to enjoy the pictures too.  Well done Beverly and Terry Owens!
  



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Death Takes A Spin: An Up-cycling Mystery Book Review Written by:
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee - A Mystery Review

Chef at the Water's Edge, Where Mystery and Romance Meet



Mix a celebrity lady chef, an assistant who looks almost like her, an obsessed fan, a controlling husband, a greedy agent, a gorgeous niece, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and you may have a recipe for murder. Although the police ruled chef Julia Karas' death as an accident, many who knew Julia well had their doubts. Too many facts didn't fit. Too many people had motives to kill Julia. And someone bribed the medical examiner to hide facts in the toxicology report that suggested suicide. Was Julia's death an accident, a suicide, or murder?

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee -  A Mystery Review



The Obsessed Fan, His Friends, and Ex-FBI Agent Hannah


The obsessed fan would be Louie Woolridge, a food critic, who lived and worked in the small town of Zebulon where Julia and Asa Karas lived and worked. He was never able to accept the fact that Julia's death was an accident. The official story was that Julia had gone out to the gazebo next to the lake on a dark rainy night and died around 11:30 PM. 

The groundskeeper found her body the next morning when he was cleaning trash from the ground around the lake. The coroner called the death an accident. Evidently, as Julia stumbled in the dark, she bumped into a beam of the gazebo and it sent her into the water. 

Louie could not accept this story because Julia had been deathly afraid of open water and also had night blindness. He could think of no reason she should have gone to the water's edge on a moonless night, unable to see. 

Louie's friends were Buster and Cate Jordan, cousins who had been raised together in the small town of Twilight. Cate was a librarian who was also a computer whiz.  

Hannah Starvling the ex-FBI agent, age 31, was their friend.  She had spent her summers with her grandparents in Twilight while growing up. After she had been wounded in a shoot-out while working for the FBI and could no longer use a weapon, she came back to Twilight to recover and decide what to do with the rest of her life. 

Her grandparents had owned a restaurant in Twilight, and her grandfather sent her for culinary training in Paris when she had to quit the FBI. She then became a restaurant consultant who worked with some of the most famous chefs in the world. 

Hannah also had a pilot's license and a reputation as an amateur sleuth. She had flown her friends to Zebulon for a food festival to commemorate the anniversary of Julia's death. Louie had invited all the friends to stay with him. After they became acquainted, Hannah agreed to look into the real cause of Julia's death. 




What Really Happened to Julia?


Hannah is determined to find out! She knew Louie and Julia had been close friends when they had both trained as chefs at the Goddard Institut Gastronomique in Paris. They had remained friends until Julia had married Asa. Asa then kept Julia from him. They occasionally met in public at culinary events Louie covered. 

Hannah could tell Louie had never stopped loving Julia. He kept a collection of memorabilia associated with her, along with a file of news clippings. Hannah thinks if she can prove Julia died in an accident as the police reported or find the murderer if there had been foul play, Louie might finally get closure. 

Many people had motives for killing Julia. She had argued loudly with her husband Asa the afternoon of her death because she'd heard rumors Asa was having an affair with their niece, Jazlyn Karas. Before her marriage to Asa, Julia's agent, Jack Miller, had tied her into a bad contract that gave him half of all she earned, and she wanted out of it. Xabierre Dauphin and Timothy Holloway were Julia's sous chefs, but Asa had fired them both and they had vowed to get even. Julia had chosen her assistant Vera to eventually replace her on her cooking show so Vera might have had a motive. And, of course, the husband is always a suspect, especially one rumored to be having affairs. 

Other Questions Readers Will Have 


As Hannah worked with Officer Miles, nicknamed Hymn, to reopen the case and investigate, it becomes evident to the reader that they are fast becoming friends, and maybe even more. Will it develop into love? How would they handle a long-distance relationship?

Vera looks a lot like Julia. In fact, Louie did a double-take the first time he saw her. She was very close to Julia. Vera explained to Louie, Cate, Buster and Hannah that she'd never known her birth parents. As she tells it, 'Someone left me with a family, Lenora and Jacque Bessinger. They were to care for me for a few days...but it turned into a lifetime.'

Jacque was a baker and the couple owned a little shop in Arzon. One day Julia had come in looking for rolls when Vera was very small. She learned Vera's story and kept up with her whenever she was in Arzon. As Julia became richer, she never forgot Vera, and she saw that the Bessinger family always had enough money to meet their needs. Later, she paid for Vera's education and even set up a trust for her. Hannah isn't sure she buys Vera's story. Readers will also wonder. Who is Vera really?

My Review and Recommendation


The three main characters in Chef at the Water's Edge - Louie, Vera, and Hannah, were credible. By the end of the book, readers will know them fairly well. I personally liked all of them, even though Louie was a bit obsessed with Julia. In the end, it is more evident why. My favorite character was Hannah. She was compassionate, thoughtful, analytical and smart. She also tried to stay objective. The minor characters added interest and widened the circle of suspects, but they weren't as well-developed as the main characters. 

I enjoyed looking over Hannah's shoulder as she investigated. There were many twists and turns in the plot and I kept changing my mind about the murderer as I read.  In spite of this, I was not totally caught off-guard at the end. It was a satisfying conclusion that made sense in light of what came before it. 

I highly recommend the book to those who like police procedural mysteries. Hannah adds the amateur sleuth dimension. The setting in a culinary town devoted to a celebrity chef will add interest for those interested in the culinary arts. Lastly, dog lovers will enjoy the important role Louie's large Mastiff, Critic, played near the end.  If you love mysteries, don't miss "Chef at the Water's Edge".

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee -  A mystery review, with a touch of romance.
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