Tag Archive | mystery

Spatzle Speaks: Baby Bunco (Book Review)

babybunco-300-w200-oJulie Cosgrove has emerged with book two of her Bunco Biddie’s cozy mystery series: Baby Bunco and it does not disappoint.

Living in a retirement community known as Sunset Acres, what could be more surprising than finding an abandoned baby in the bathtub of an empty condo?  But that’s exactly the kind of thing that sends Janie and her friends back into their mischievous sleuthing, much to the dismay of her son-in-law, a local detective.

When a woman is also found sliced apart behind a local convenience store the plot thickens and the Bunco Biddies are fresh on the scent to discover just who the baby belongs to, why it was abandoned and what a local maid service might have to do with it all. Of course, you’d think these women were more tenacious than bloodhounds when they get an idea in their heads. Personally I’m not fond of blood hounds but as a dog myself, I am aware that our sense of smell is strong…and in that way I can relate to these sweet ladies (even though Janie has a cat. I think I’d like to get to know her better because I think cats are fascinating).

If you want a lighthearted mystery filled with twists and turns as well as loaded with sweet relationships, then you’ll enjoy this book. I’m not much for hunting myself but any book that makes my mom slow down to read and snuggle with me is aces and that’s why I give this book five bones. Because I’m a dog and I don’t do stars and don’t have thumbs either.

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

Spatzle Speaks: Evidence Not Seen (Book Review)

This fabulous tell of mystery and family secrets by Carlene Havel is a great addition to the “Love is . . .” series by Prism Book Group. Evidence Not Seen beautifully illustrates “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Jeff Galloway grew up with his father in prison and his mom single-handedly raising him. A grown man and a successful attorney he comes to a crossroads when his girlfriend dumps him for greater fortunes in another town. A chance encounter brings Melanie Clark into his path and the soft-hearted social worker stretches his faith in fresh ways while helping come to grips with the past as his father is released from prison.

Did his father commit the crime? if he is as innocent his mother claims, why would he go to prison for it? Where was the proof? As he investigates he is forced to learn to let go of the past as he realizes the truth of all that happened 27 years ago and start afresh to learn the integrity of the father he’d long disdained.

This story looks at our own perceptions and beliefs and the associated emotions that can knock us off stride and away from truth–and love. Melanie becomes a force to help him realize the truth and let go of the past, and forgive. This beautifully told story deserves five bones. I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park (Book Review)

I’m typicaly a prolific reader but struggled with Julie Klassen’s latest Regency-era historical fiction, The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Typically in cases like this I wouldn’t even post a review but as I received a free copy from Bethany House, I am obligated to do so.

Abigail Foster is trying to save her family from financial ruin. Ever practical, and in search of inexpensive housing they agree to travel and live at Pembrooke Park, a home abruptly abandoned eighteen years past. Mysteries abound including the story that there is hidden treasure in the mansion. Abigail hopes to find it and restore her family’s fortune.

The local curate is welcoming and as much as his family knows the history of the place. His only warning is that strangers might come to search for the treasure. Mysterious letters and hidden rooms provide diversion in her quest as does the handsome pastor. Maybe she’ll find both love and treasure. . . or danger.

This book is indicative of some others from this publisher which contain far more detail than necessary to tell the story. I found myself bored and easily setting it down for days on end with no real desire to pick it up again. I love Regencies but this is not a traditional light, sweet, Regency. It is a historical novel. While well-written it was not what I anticipated and coming in at 456 pages seemed too long of a book for the story to be told.

Winter Watch (Book Review)

WinterWatch_Ebook (2)It’s been chilly up in the midwest, and Anita Klumper’s new romantic suspense novel, Winter Watch, is what the doctor ordered to get my heart pumping. (well, that and a cozy chair by the fireplace and a cup of something warm!)

Claudia finds herself stranded in northern Wisconsin when she travels there to uncover the true owner of a watch with age old secrets. She meets up with a bevy of characters from the local dog-catcher to the and old, yet sage, blind man and a fun husband and wife team who own the B&B while home schooling their cheeky teenage son. Throw in a slobbering dog, an eccentric restaurant, an old boy friend, winter storms and mysterious happenings that culminate in murder. Claudia needs to decide whether the watch is worth losing the lives of the people she comes to care for.

I really enjoyed this story and the unusual romance that develops between Claudia and Ezra. The bookends to the story add another dimension of depth to the entire tale of this mysterious watch and its elusive fob and just who the real owner is. Who would have thought something so old would create such chaos? Anita’s research and attention to details in this story is riviting and fun. It is a story I highly recommend. I look forward to reading more from this author!

 

The Love Thief (Book Review)

TheLoveThiefThe Love Thief is a novella by Daisy Jerico and is her debut work out by Prism Book Group

Sandra has overcome a difficult past and is on the cusp of realizing her dream of being a jewelry designer while she manages a jewelry store for her boss.

A break-in and theft at the store, however, threatens that dream when she comes under suspicion. The problem is, Sandra didn’t steal the jewelry which included her own design that she had sunk every last penny into. Now her job is in jeopardy as well as her freedom. On top of her life falling apart, a mammoth dog has chosen her to be his owner. How much more can one girl take?

She’s not given much of a choice but to work with an ex-thief to try to trap the real culprit, her former boyfriend, a Svengali type of guy who still thinks that Sandra would want him back after he set her up for a fall five years ago.

Throw in a mammoth dog and some mishaps and you have one humorous yet suspenseful love story.

Will Sandra catch the thief and live to tell about it? Could love flourish in the midst of this? Spoiler – the real love thief is Viking, the dog. Thoroughly loved this story and the cover makes me grin.

This is a novella and available as an e-book only.


Mystery Love (Flash Fiction Romance)

On Monday, I found an envelope under my windshield. On the inside was a little note that read. “You are beautiful.” No name. No indication of who it could be from. It warmed my heart.

Tuesday after work there was a daisy under my windshield. No note. It made me smile and I wondered, who?

Wednesday there was a little bag tucked under the windshield when I left to go for lunch. Inside was a package of Lindt Truffles, my favorite chocolate, and a note that said “You’re sweet.”

Thursday after work there was nothing on my car. When I arrived home to find a gift bag hanging from my doorknob. Inside was a container of mixed nuts and a note that said, “I’m nuts about you.” Nuts? I was the one going nuts trying to wrack my brain as to who was doing this.

Friday a package arrived for me at work. No return address. I opened it up to find a ticket to a dinner theater show downtown with a note. “Meet me?” I could hardly wait until I was able to finally and race home to change for my mystery date.

I arrived and was escorted to my table for two with wine glasses and a bottle already chilling. I looked at the label. Whoever it was had good taste. The waiter came and offered to fill my glass. I shrugged and let him do so and sipped the champagne. This guy was sparing no expense.

Curiosity was killing me. None of the men I had recently dated seemed to be capable of this kind of subtlety. Most had been too self-absorbed to even wonder about what I liked or didn’t. So who? I felt anxious so I sipped more of my bubbly drink. Probably not a good idea on an empty stomach.

The waiter returned with a bouquet of pink roses. Something flickered in my mind. Only one person had ever given me pink roses. When I saw his familiar face walking towards me I felt faint. Dressed in a dark suit and tie, his auburn hair curling around his ears and his cheeky grin gave him a roguish air.

“Ian?” My lips moved but no words came out.

He approached with panther-like grace and picked up my hand to kiss it before he sat across from me.  He smiled and I felt my heart melt as he picked up his own glass of wine to drink. “I’m glad you came, Colleen.”

“When did you get back? How come you didn’t let me know you were in the States?” Ian and I had corresponded for the last year while he was studying overseas in England.

“I wanted to surprise you.” He smiled and I felt my heart drop. When had he ever looked so good?

The waiter took our order and left. We chatted about his studies and my work. When I asked if he was returning to England he avoided the question. I decided to relax and enjoy his company and the wonderful food. The play was delightful. As the evening wound down Ian escorted me out to my car and asked if he could drive. “Are you sure you can handle driving on the right side of the road?” I teased him and got in the passenger seat.

He drove to spot by the lake. The full moon above reflected in the lazy waves. We walked over to a bench and sat. I shivered and he pulled off his coat to wrap it around my shoulders. I smiled as I inhaled his scent and the warmth. I was in a delicious dream. Ian was home!

“I have a question I wanted to ask you, Colleen.”

I smiled at him and clasped his hand to let him know he could ask me anything.

“I got a job lined up in England after I graduate in a few months. I really want to be able to say yes to this opportunity but. . .

“Ian, that’s fantastic! I’m so proud of you!” I reached over and wrapped my arms around him in a hug and found my lips locking with his. Warmth spread though me.

Ian dislodged my arms and separated us, but I could tell he had been as affected by that kiss as I was.

He swallowed hard. He stood up and reached for something in his pocket and dropped to his knee in front of me. My hand went to my mouth in shock.

“Colleen. I don’t want to live without you. Wherever God has for me to go, I long for you to be by my side. I feel like I’ve loved you forever. Will you marry me?” He opened up the small jewelers box to reveal a diamond ring with an antique design. So my style.

It took a few moments for his words to register. “You want me to marry you and move to England?” This was almost too much to take in.

He tilted his head and nodded. “I’ve been praying about this for months. If you don’t want to move overseas then I’ll look for something here in the States.”

“But this is what you have worked so hard for all these years. Oh, Ian.” I leaned forward and placed a hand on each side of his face and leaned forward to kiss him again.

“Is that a yes?” he asked as we came up for air.

“Most definitely a yes.” I wrapped my arms around him for another kiss and he lost his balance and we both fell to the ground. Laying there side by side he broke the kiss and placed that ring on my finger.  There was no more mystery as to who loved me anymore, so I kissed him again.

Meow Mayhem (Book Review)

meow mayhem coverI just finished Lisa Lickel’s cozy mystery/romance Meow Mayhem, this morning and still basking in the glow of the sweetness of it. The small town of Apple Grove is dying and it’s mayor, Donald Conklin recruits fellow Egyptian Mau owners, Amanda McTeague Preston and Truesdale Thomson to move their businesses to the town, with incentives, to help stimulate growth.

Egyptian Mau’s are a specific breed of cat, with spots instead of stripes. Valuable and pedigreed.

True liked the idea of moving because he wanted to get to know Amanda. Amanda moved so she could start life afresh after being jilted by her fiancé.

But life, and romance, never runs smooth. When the mayor is found dead, and possibly murdered the town spreads rumors and fights against the new businesses. Amanda and True wonder if this is where they are meant to be, but they believed the mayor’s vision for the town and want to honor him. So they stay and try to uncover the mystery.

This book is unusual as it is written entirely in the first person from only Amanda’s point of view. I’ll admit that this is not my favorite type of POV to read and because of that, not the story, it took awhile for me to really get immersed in the mystery. Partly because Amanda keeps sticking her nose impulsively into trouble and I got frustrated with that!

The mystery is well crafted though and with all the clues and problems that occur in the town there was no certainty of how things would resolve – or if they even would. Would Donald’s murderer be uncovered? What’s up with the chocolate (I even suspected that they might be poisoned and part of an evil plot to undo Amanda)?

mau catAnd those cats. I’m not a cat person and even went to look online to get a better feel for what this breed looked like. I loved the way Lisa Lickel gave each of the three cats in the story distinct personalities and how she beautifully highlighted the unique relationship a pet owner has with the pet they have come to love like family.

I’m allergic to cats and didn’t sneeze once during this book. It was an enjoyable read and “cozy,” although towards the end I did start dreaming and wondering what was next when I would go to bed! Always the sign of a good book when it keeps you thinking about it even when you are sleeping.

Thanks Lisa for this light, cozy mystery and for not making it too easy to solve. You tied it up nicely and even had room for a little bit of surprise at the end. Well done!