Mug Meals – Dina Cheney

5/5 Easy Microwavable Meals

On The Back:

The secret to fast and easy meals cooked from scratch is hiding in plain sight in your kitchen. The microwave oven is not just for reheating leftovers and making popcorn anymore. With pantry ingredients, a mug and a microwave, you can create a meal in minutes that rivals those cooked in the oven or on the stovetop. Mug MEALS! is the perfect solution for new cooks, busy families, singles, college students, teens, seniors or anyone who just wants a hot meal without all the cleanup.

Make a meal for any time of day. Breakfast options include Lox and Bagel Strata, Double Berry French Toast; for lunch try Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew, White Bean Gratin with Olives and Lemon or Double Carrot Soup. Dinner entrees include Chinese Chicken with Noodles and Black Bean Sauce, Classic Shepherd’s Pie and Lasagna; dessert selections feature Mango Coconut Crumble, Molten Chocolate Cake with Truffle Filling, Peach and Cornbread Stuffing and more.”

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley*

Wow, some of these recipes blew me away, I never knew you could make some of this stuff in a mug in the microwave. All of the recipes looked good, many contained less than 5 ingredients, and most were looked extremely simple to make. I’m dying to try the “Warm S’mores Dip with Berries” recipe. It looks great.

The pictures were vivid and amazing to look at. My stomach was growling just looking at them! I loved a section in the front where it had a recommended pantry section and then a “brands” section recommending the brands to buy before making these. Normally, I’d frown on something like this, but when I read the brands, most were simple, easy to get, non-expensive brands that you probably have on your shelf already.

Overall a great book with even better recipes and amazing pictures. I’m looking into buying this for my mom for Mother’s Day!

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The Legend of Sleepy Harlow – Kylie Logan

4/5 Old Town Ghosts

On The Back:

It takes more than a lurid legend to scare off the League of Literary Ladies…

For Halloween, the Literary Ladies have chosen to read Washington Irving’s spooky classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with its infamous headless horseman. But South Bass Island has its own headless legend—of a Prohibition bootlegger named Charlie “Sleepy” Harlow. Decapitated by rival rumrunners, Harlow appears once a year in spectral form to search for his noggin.

This October, the Elkhart Ghost Getters (EGG) have returned to the island. The group claims that they have film footage of Harlow’s ghost, and are determined to get more. They’re staying at Bea Cartwright’s B and B, but it’s Kate Wilder who isn’t happy to see them after they trashed her winery last year. When the EGG leader turns up dead, Kate becomes the prime suspect, and the other League members need to scramble to crack the case.

My Thoughts:

Really this is a very good “new” cozy-mystery series that I hope will continue for awhile.

I really love the characters Bea, Chandra, Luella, and Kate. They are all different but so much fun. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things Chandra said and nodding in agreement at other times to Luella. I also loved that the tension between Levi and Bea was resolved in this book, I found it kind of tiring.

The only really bad part in this book was the end. I felt that the killer was kinda obvious and to top it off the ending was kinda lame, to be honest. The killer didn’t put up a fight, there was no really ending to all of the suspense that the author had wonderfully built up.

Overall, however, this book was a great part of an amazing series. I would highly recommend it!

Mum’s The Word – Kate Collins

3/5 Florists

On The Back:

Abby Knight is the proud owner of her hometown flower shop, but a new low-cost competitor is killing her profits-and a black SUV just rammed her vintage Corvette in a hit-and-run. She’s determined to track down the driver, but when the trail turns deadly, the next flower arrangement might be for her own funeral.

My Thoughts:

Really I had two problems with this book. One, Abby started off as an intelligent person, but towards the middle of the book she suddenly became really dumb. I mean, a few of the vital clues were directly in front of her face and she didn’t even notice them until 30 pages  later. It was really frustrating. Secondly, this could be just me, but the story started off with a bang but around page 100 (in my nook edition from Overdrive) it really slowed down and I lost interest for awhile. However, about 30 pages later the story  picked back up to a fast-paced plot and I enjoyed the rest.

Oh, I almost forgot, a third thing that annoyed me, Abby’s mom. I feel like all cozy mystery authors feel the need to have an overbearing mother or father. Why can’t both be supportive of their children? This has started to become a pet-peeve of mine in mysteries and I hope authors stop doing it soon.

Overall not a bad book, I’ll probably read the next one, but not a great book, either.

The Diva Takes the Cake – Krista Davis

4/5 Colonial Houses

On The Back:

Some Wedding Advice from the Domestic Diva: Keep the food….Lose the Groom!

Sophie Winston’s sister, Hannah, is getting married-again! And if you ask Sophie, her future brother-in-law is no prince. But is he a killer? That’s the question on everyone’s mind when his ex-wife is found hanging from a pergola. This is one event Sophie and her sister hadn’t planned on.

As hidden family secrets begin to come to light, Sophie finds the list of suspects is almost as long as the list of wedding guests. Will the real killer be seated on the groom’s side or the bride’s? Or will he be standing at the altar? Either way, Sophie must solve the murder in time to stop her sister from making the biggest-and possibly the last-mistake of her life.

My Thoughts:

Another very enjoyable read, though not as good as the first.

I felt like we saw some major changes with characters, especially Hannah, Mars, and Natasha throughout this book. I also really feel bad for Natasha, I feel like she’s not meaning to be mean or rude but she’s just ignorant. However, the angst between Sophie and Wolf was kind of pointless to me, I thought that entire minor plotline of the book could have been eliminated quite easily.

The mystery was very well written and the killer was so obvious I never would have guessed him. Usually authors try to hide the killer until later in the book, however, Ms. Davis did an exceptional job of placing the killer in plain sight, but at the same time keeping people from guessing him and the ending right up to where the killer was exposed was really well plotted out. I never would’ve guessed what had happened.

Overall a really good book. There were a few minor things that I wasn’t pleased with and I think these titles are kind of corny, but I’ll definitely be reading the next one and I’d readily recommend this one.

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme – Krista Davis

5/5 Historic Houses

On The Back:

Few can compete with Natasha Smith when it comes to entertaining, but her childhood rival, Sophie Winston, certainly tries. Natasha may have stolen the spotlight, and Sophie’s husband, but Sophie is determined to rob her of the prize for the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. She just needs the right ingredient.

But Sophie’s search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse. And when the police find her name and photo inside the victim’s car, Sophie will have to set her trussing aside to solve the murder, or she’ll be serving up prison grub.

My Thoughts:

Wow, two amazing mysteries in a row! I picked up this book because I found it on Overdrive and I liked the author’s other series. I don’t regret it!

This book honestly reminded me of a really good Matlock or Murder, She Wrote episode for the simple fact that it was a simple mystery that made it flow so naturally and the fact that it was a quick read that I immensely enjoyed.

As I mentioned above the mystery and plot was simple, and it was extremely refreshing, because it was so simple I didn’t see half of it coming and the ending truly surprised me. I don’t mean simple in a bad way either, not simple such as idiotic, but simple as in the author didn’t waste pages with useless info about the murder or the MC, Sofie’s, craft, but she filled the pages with really good interactions and a great murder plot.

Overall an amazing mystery. I’m checking the next one out right now!

Threads of Deceit – Mae Fox & Jan Fields

5/5 Rural Missouri Inns

On The Back:

 Former antiquities bounty hunter, Julie Ellis, is on the run, trying to stay one stiletto step ahead of her past. She accepts a position as manager of the Quilt Haus Inn in Missouri wine country, thinking it the perfect place to keep a low profile and start a new, less-dangerous career. It is—until Daniel Franklin walks through the door and asks for a room. Daniel claims he’s come to Straussberg in search of a famous sunken ship that he believes is buried in a nearby farm field. Julie finds the handsome historian’s story odd at best, but when a dead body is discovered at the proposed dig site, it becomes clear somebody else believes the theory and doesn’t want the ship or its secrets exposed. Who in the town would possibly care about the old shipwreck? As frightening things start to happen at the inn—all seemingly connected to the hunt for the missing ship—Julie and her quilting friends must unearth the truth before someone else is buried.

My Thoughts:

My library’s ebook library doesn’t get many just published mysteries that often and when they do they are taken and on hold for months after, however I saw this one and luckily I was the first to nab it. I’m glad I did this book was probably one of the best mysteries I’ve read all month.

I loved the characters and the fact that they weren’t perfect. Julie isn’t above breaking the law to do what she feels is right and Hannah and Julie don’t always get along. It felt like the characters were written so naturally to me, they were vivid and compelling.

The setting was also flawless. I’ve been to some of the areas they were talking about, so I could picture them perfectly in my head. The authors also did a great job of not overloading you with quilting facts like some series do. They had a few but the story really focused on the mystery, which was a refreshing change from a lot of cozy mysteries these days.

The mystery was amazing. I guessed the killer about 2/3 of the way through, but the way the authors wrapped it up was nice.

Overall a really good mystery and overall book. I’ll be looking for the next one next month!

Where She Went – Gayle Forman

4/5 Shooting Stars

On The Back:

It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.

My Thoughts:

After I finished If I Stay I immediately went out to my library and picked this book up. Though I don’t think that this book quite lived up to the first book, I think that if I wouldn’t have had the first book to compare this one to, this would’ve been a five star rating.

I loved learning more about these characters, this book cleared up some loose ends. However, I felt that Mia’s POV in the first book flowed better than Adam’s in this book.

Overall a very good book that makes me want to hear more about these characters. The first few chapters were rough, transitioning from Mia’s POV in the first book to Adam’s in this book, but the last 8 or so chapters really made this book stand out. I would highly recommend this book and the first one to anyone.

Keepsake Crimes – Laura Childs

3/5 Scrapbooking Shops

On The Back:

New Orleans scrapbooking shop owner Carmela Bertrand delights her customers with the sophisticated looks she achieves with their scrapbooks.  But among her client’s keepsakes she finds a tip of her own-about a murder…

My Thoughts:

This book had been on my tbr shelf since January, so I decided to read it after I got burnt out on the other books I was reading. This was overalla good book with a strong mystery.

The characters, however, were simply okay, they weren’t really as realistic as I’d like them, and I found myself rolling my eyes at Gabby, Shamus, and Carmela more than once. However, I really liked Ava, Tandy, Jekyll, and Baby.

I absolutely loved the setting, in New Orleans. It was so vivid that I could picture it perfect. However, at the same time, I feel that the author spent a bit too much time on describing Mardi Gras, she repeated herself a few times and I found myself skimming over those parts.

The mystery was very good, I didn’t see the killer until the very end when the MC realized who it is.

Overall an okay book. Pleasant, and it kept my attention, but yet the characters and overdescription of Mardi Gras had me cringing. I’ll probably read the next one, however.

Haul #10000000000

10 new books and all mysteries! I’m really excited and have heard great things about these. All of these came from a used book store.

Total Spent:$20

Books Bought: 10

An Uninvited Ghost, Old Haunts, and Change of a Ghost – E.J. Copperman I read the first one in this series awhile ago and I saw these three, so I snatched them up. I hear they’re great.

Murder with Puffins – Donna Andrews I read the first one and I really liked it it was great.

A Skeleton in the Family – Leigh Perry Sounds good and I’ve heard great things about it.

Tempest in a Teapot – Amanda Cooper I’ve heard semi-decent things about this, and I thought that it was unusual that this pretty recently published book was in a used book store for a cheap price, so I grabbed it.

Buzz Off – Hannah Reed I like two of this author’s other series and this one sounds good. An added plus is that this one is signed by Hannah Reed!

Shop till You Drip – Elaine Viets I’ve been looking for this for awhile now, I’m glad I finally found it!

Wreath of Deception – Mary Ellen Hughes I’ve heard that this is pretty good, so I figured I’d give it a try.

The Cat, the Quilt, and the Corpse – Leann Sweeney Sounds pretty good, I’ll give it a try.

I think I found some winners. In other news a review for Keepsake Crimes and A Royal Pain will be coming soon

If I Stay – Gayle Forman

5/5 Wonderful Days

On The Back:

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family.

My Thoughts:

I’ve been on a non-mystery kick for awhile now and each book that I’ve read that wasn’t a mystery have been amazing. If I Stay was no exception.

I really had no idea what this book was about when I got it from my library, and I actually expected it to be different, but not in a bad way. This book was an amazing read that had everything I want in a good book in it. From heart wrenching to hilarious. This book had it all and to top it off it had a mysterious part in it that I liked.

This book was an amazing book that I’d highly recommend. I can’t wait to read Where She Went!