Buffalo West Wing – Julie Hyzy

5/5 New Annoying Chefs

On The Back:

With a new First Family, White House executive chef Olivia Paras can’t afford to make any mistakes. But when a box of take-out chicken mysteriously shows up for the First Kids, she soon finds herself in a “no-wing” situation. After Olivia refuses to serve the chicken, the First Lady gives her the cold shoulder. But when it turns out to be poisoned poultry, Olivia realizes the kids are true targets.

My Thoughts:

Wow, this series just keeps getting better and better with every book. This book made me love every character more and more.

Every really good book has lovable and hateable characters, and this book had the perfect hateable character, a new chef that’s brought in. He was arrogant, cocky, and rude but he was vital to the story and because he was so rude he even had me laughing at times. I kinda hope he murders someone in the next book, but another part of me hopes he stays on to keep some humor in the series.

I loved the fact that this book did not have a real murder in it. It had a few almost murders but yet it didn’t have a real murder, which made it a nice change from typical cozies.

The characters and setting were very good, once again. Ms. Hyzy really knows how to create a setting and a mystery.

The one point I thought was weird was the fact that there really wasn’t very much cooking in this. It didn’t take away from the mystery, but I thought that in real life she would’ve been doing a bit more cooking.

Overall an amazing book. I’m really looking forward to reading the next!

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Thrift Store Haul 2 – Five New Books

Today I had an appointment about two hours away and on the way back we stopped at a huge thrift store that’s about an hour from where I live. My mother and I had never been there before and we wanted to check it out, so we went and I found great books.

Total Spent: $12

Books Bought: 5

Even though I spent more this time than last time on books, but it was still a great price.

Here’s what I bought:

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith I’ve heard this is a great series, and I’ve been wanting to try it for awhile now.

Hearse and Buggy – Laura Bradford One of the recent “trends” in cozy mysteries seems to have been books centered around the Amish culture and this one sounded really good, so I figured I’d give it a try.

The Azalea Assault – Alyse Carlson Another first in a series, this one sounded decent.

Keepsake Crimes – Laura Childs I’ve gotten this book from Overdrive about three times but I never read it, so I figured that if I had a physical copy I’d actually read it.

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into History Again – Various I love Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, they have so much fun trivia. I was really exited to get this for less than 1/4 of its original price.

I got some, what I think are, great books that I’m really looking forward to reading.

Feel free to comment to tell me your latest finds or to tell me what you thought of these books!

Coming Soon: Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy review and rating.

A Brew to Kill – Cleo Coyle

5/5 Food Trucks

On The Back:

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

A shocking hit-and-run in front of her Village Blend coffeehouse spurs Clare Cosi into action. A divorced, single mom in her forties, Clare is also a dedicated sleuth, and she’s determined to track down this ruthless driver who ran down an innocent friend and customer. In the meantime, her ex-husband Matt, the shop’s globetrotting coffee buyer, sources some amazing new beans from Brazil. But he soon discovers that he’s importing more than coffee, and Clare may have been the real target of that deadly driver. Can ex-husband and wife work together to solve this mystery? Or will their newest brew lead to murder?

My Thoughts:

This series has been my favorite cozy series for awhile now and with each book it just keeps getting better. This book exhibited all of the humor, action, and mystery the books before it had and it still retains a “cozy” feeling even though it’s set in New York City.

In this book I felt that we saw growth in the MC, Clare. She grew in her relationships with Mike and Matt and in herself, in my opinion. I want to give an example of how she grew, but they all have spoilers, so I’m not going to. I also thought you saw growth in Mike and Matt towards each other. Some things they go through in this book make them stop seeing each other as enemies.

I loved the new characters; Lilly, Max, and Jeremy and I really hope we see more of them soon. I also loved that Ester, nancy and Dante took bigger parts in this book, I’ve always loved all of the baristas and it was good to see them get a spotlight.

The mystery was superb, and I didn’t guess the killer until Clare did. There were a lot of branches going off of the murder to give you a lot of suspects that all had viable motives.

Overall a phenomenal book and, quite possible, the best in this series yet. Can'[t wait to pick up the next one!

Eggsecutive Orders – Julie Hyzy

5/5 Flawless Easter Eggs

On The Back:

Chef Olivia Paras has too many eggs in one basket-and is feeling like a basket-case…

When NSA big shot Carl Minkus dies right after eating the dinner Olivia Paras’s staff had prepared, all forks point to them. Now the Secret Service is picking apart the kitchen-and scrutinizing the staff’s every move. The timing couldn’t be worse with the White House Lawn Easter Egg Roll to prep for without access to a kitchen. Olivia must find the real culprit-before she cracks under pressure.

My Thoughts:

It’s been a few months since I read the second in this series, and I had forgotten how good it was. This was entertaining, fun, light, and well-crafted!

I simply adore the characters, Tom, Ollie, Cyan, Bucky, Mrs. Wentworth, and Stanley. They’re all well-crafted and lovable.

How could the setting get better? It couldn’t. I simply love the setting of the White House and the setting gives the story a spy-thriller feel.

The mystery was well-crafted and I didn’t have a clue who the killer was until Ollie did.

There were only two real drawbacks to this story. First, Ollie and Tom’s relationship in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I really like both characters, but in the beginning it felt like Tom was being almost rude to Ollie. Second, I was really hoping to know more about Craig, though now that’s impossible.

Overall an amazing book and series! I already have the next one ordered!

Thrift Store Haul – New Books and New Series

Today I went to the Thrift Store and found some great books that I can’t wait to read!

Money Spent: $3.25

Number of Books Bought: 8

Murder on The Run – The Adams Round Table this one is by a group of authors including Mary Higgins Clark and it’s basically a collection of short stories. It sounds really good to be and of course it’s a mystery!

The Inferno Collection – Jacqueline Seewald the first in the Kim Reynolds series, it sounds pretty good

Skating Over the Line – Joelle Charbonneau Even though this is the second in the series, it was less than a quarter and I heard the series was pretty good so I went ahead and got it.

Dark Tort – Diane Mott Davidson I love this series, and I guess someone has been reading these then donating them because this is like the fifth one I’ve seen at this one thrift shop

Ghost Stories of Illinois – Jo-Anne Christensen I love ghost stories and the thriftshop had more by this author there but  I decided to wait to see if this one was any good first

All Through The Night – Mary Higgins Clark I’ve read a few in this series, and I love them. Haven’t read this one yet, though

Cat’s Eyewitness – Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown Once again not the first in this series, but it was in good shape and less than a dollar so I got it. Heard this is a good series.

The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom I’ve already read this book twice, but  I like it and It was only a quarter, so I got it.

Overall a pretty successful haul, most of which I’ll be adding to my TBR mountain. I’m really excited for a few of them and I can’t wait to get started!

In other news: I’m almost finished with Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy so expect a review soon!

The Long Quiche Goodbye – Avery Aames

3/5 Cheese Shops

On The Back:

Welcome to the grand opening of Fromagerie Bessette. Or as it’s more commonly known by the residents of small- town Providence, Ohio-the Cheese Shop. Proprietor Charlotte Bessette has prepared a delightful sampling of bold Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, delicious tortes of Stilton and Mascarpone, and a taste of Sauvignon Blanc-but someone else has decided to make a little crime of passion the piece de resistance. Right outside the shop Charlotte finds a body, the victim stabbed to death with one of her prized olive-wood handled knives.

My Thoughts:

I bought this book awhile ago when I decided to pick up some Agatha Award winning titles, and to tell the truth, I was slightly disappointed with this.

The setting was amazing, the author did a superb job of making me see this part of Ohio with clarity and ease.

But, the characters were flat, and sometimes annoying. I found the main character to be almost arrogant at the beginning of the book, though she got tons better by the end. And her cousin, where do I start with him? I absolutely could not stand Matthew. I felt that he was a bad father and a bad character. First of all Charlotte does a lot more parenting than him throughout the book, and secondly, he can’t spend time with the girls because of the relationship he has with Charlotte’s best friend? No. Besides him, Meredith was also flat and unlikeable, to me. She was supposed to be Charlotte’s friend but she can’t tell Charlotte that she’s dating Charlotte’s cousin? And she avoids Charlotte to avoid telling her? No, I think that if she really loved Charlotte and Matthew she would have told Charlotte to begin with.

There were also a few minor inconsistencies, though none that affected the plot. Speaking of the plot, I thought it was grand, I didn’t guess the killer until Charlotte did, and I loved the way the mystery fit together.

Overall not a bad book, just a few bad characters and a few inconsistencies. I still want to read the next book, however, because I like the characters (besides Meredith and Matthew) and I adore the setting.

Holiday Grind – Cleo Coyle

4/5 Fa-la-la lattes

Originally published on December 20, 2014 on Goodreads.

On The Back:

It’s Christmastime-and when manager and head barista Clare Cosi finds a red- suited body in the snow, she adds solving Santa’s slaying to her coffeehouse menu. Soon, a few clues convince her his death was something more than a mugging gone awry.

With Clare’s NYPD Detective boyfriend distracted by his own cold case, Clare discovers on her own that Santa had a list that he was checking twice- and the folks on it were not nice. But Clare had better watch out, because if she fails to stop this stone cold killer, she may just get the biggest chill of her life.

My Thoughts:

Ever since I picked up the first book int he Coffeehouse Mystery Series I’ve been hooked. Coyle describes the characters with such vividness that I feel that I’ve walked into the Village Blend, and this book was no exception.

I loved the Christmas setting of this book, especially the fa-la-la-lattes and the santas, they added a great coziness to the read. I also loved that Clare and Mike had a fight, to me it added a bit more realism into their relationship that I felt was a nice touch.

However, this is rated 4 instead of 5 stars because of the murder. I guessed the killer early on and I though the murder plot wasn’t the best the authors had come up with.

However this was a great, quick read that I enjoyed, especially with Christmastime. If only the Village Blend was a real place!

Snow Way Out – Christine Husom

5/5 Do-it-yourself Snowglobes

On The Back:

Curio shop manager Camryn Brooks thought she’d seen every kind of snow globe—until she saw one depicting a crime scene…

Ever since she was a child, Cami has loved the sparkling beauty of snow globes, and now, she sells them.  In fact, they’re so popular, Cami and her friend—coffee shop owner Alice “Pinky” Nelson—are hosting a snow globe making class.

After the flurry of activity has ended and everyone has gone off with their own handmade snow globes, Cami spots a new globe left behind on a shelf, featuring an odd tableau—a man sleeping on a park bench.

On her way home, she drifts through the town park and is shaken to come upon the scene from the globe—a man sitting on a bench. But he isn’t sleeping—he has a knife in his back. When the police arrive, it’s clear they consider Cami a little flaky and possibly a suspect. After her friends also come under suspicion, Cami starts plowing through clues to find the cold-blooded backstabber—before someone else gets iced…

My Thoughts:

An amazing start to a new series, I finished this book in just over a day, making it a fast, enjoyable read that I didn’t want to end.

The characters were all well-written. Pinky, Erin, Cami, Clint, Archi, and Mark were all well-written characters that I could easily picture in any town. I especially loved Clint and Cami, however.

The setting was great, too, I could picture the shops perfectly, along with the town. The entire area sounded like a perfect area to live, and own a small business.

One down point, to me anyway, was the length of the chapters. When I read a book I like it to have chapters around 5-10 pages each, so I can always end at the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. This book, however, had longer chapters tat were 15+ pages each, with the exception of the last few chapters. This is simply a personal preference, however, and it would not stop me from recommending the book.

Overall a quick, fun read with great characters! I can’t wait for another installment of this series!

Dying for Chocolate – Diane Mott Davidson

4/5 Bird-watching Hikes

Originally published on December 18, 2014 on Goodreads.

On The Back:

The Caterer

Meet Goldy Bear: a bright, opinionated, wildly inventive caterer whose personal life has become a recipe for disaster. She’s got an abusive ex-husband who’s into making tasteless threats, a rash of mounting bills that are taking a huge bite out of her budget, and two enticing men knocking on her door.

The Dish

Now determined to take control of her life, Goldy moves her business and her son to ritzy Aspen Meadow Country Club, where she accepts a job as a live-in cook. But just as she’s beginning to think she’s got it made–catering decadent dinners and posh society picnics and enjoying the favors of Philip Miller, a handsome local shrink, and Tom Schulz, her more-than-friendly neighborhood cop–the dishy doctor inexplicably drives his BMW into an oncoming bus.

The Unsavory Killer

Convinced that Philip’s bizarre death was no accident, Goldy decides to do a little investigating of her own. But sifting through the unpalatable secrets of the dead doc’s life will toss her into a case seasoned with unexpected danger and even more unexpected revelations–the kind that could get a caterer and the son she loves…killed

My Thoughts:

Though this book was a good read I felt that it had a few setbacks.

First of all, the book took awhile to get into. I think it was because of the introduction of an almost entirely new cast of characters, only five of the major characters who appeared in the last book appeared in this book, and even the setting changed some. I felt that it was a hindrance to the pace and action of the book.However, some of the new characters were lovable and I hope that they will reappear in future volumes of this series.

I felt that the reason for murder was unique and the entire book was unique. I didn’t guess the killer until about 20 pages from the end. I liked the action in this book, but hated the fact that so much happened between this book and the last one. It seemed like a lifetime had passed with everything happening between books, and I felt that it set the entire book into a rut, with Goldy having to explain something every two pages.

Overall, however, a great book, and an ideal mystery! I’ll be reading the next book in this series, for sure.

A Tiger’s Tale – Laura Morrigan

5/5 Kittens named Voodoo

On The Back:

When a normally mellow tiger at a rescue facility trees a terrified vet, animal behaviorist Grace Wilde needs to use her psychic ability to get to the root of the problem…

A tiger can’t change his stripes—but if his behavior changes suddenly, there’s a reason. So when even-tempered Boris the Siberian tiger goes into attack mode, Grace knows there’s more to the story. Something is agitating the big cat. As she uses her telepathic ability to calm the tiger, she realizes he has witnessed a theft—not of something but of someone. A teenaged volunteer at the animal rescue facility has been taken…kidnapped.

The problem is Brooke Ligner’s parents believe their troubled daughter ran away and Grace can’t exactly reveal her source. Even though sexy cop Kai Duncan is aware of Grace’s secret ability, he can’t initiate an investigation based on the word of a tiger. Now, as Grace searches for solid clues to rescue the missing teen, it’s the human predators she’ll need to watch out for…

My Thoughts:

Another really great mystery, this series keeps getting better and better.

I loved all of the characters, especially the animals, Moss and Voodoo are really cute!

I especially loved the fact that even though this was a mystery, there wasn’t murder in it. I felt like it was a break from the usual books I read.

Overall a great book that I really can’t say anything bad about.