Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard

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I received a free digital copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Anna Gerard is the another name for Ali Brandon, who writes the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries, which I have read and enjoyed in the past so I was interested to see what this series with a completely different theme would be like.

Nina Fleet is a recent divorcee, who seems to have come out of divorce pretty well, at least well enough to buy a large enough house in a small touristy town and turn it into a B and B.   Her first set of guests is a group of nuns who have been ousted from their convent by a property developer.  As Nina settles into running the B & B, she deals with legal entanglements in the form of a man who is disputing her ownership of her new house, and of course to top things off a murder occurs in town throwing everyone into a tizzy.  The positives here are that the mystery is engaging and the nuns are fun and interesting group of characters to add to the mix.

On the other hand, I did find Nina’s correcting everyone that her name is pronounced “9-ah”  constantly really annoying, because it is not spelled that way, especially in the beginning where it occurred every couple pages.  I also found her interactions with Harry Westcott,  the wanna-be actor and heir unrealistic and going against any kind of common sense.  I found it frustrating that she would so obviously act against her own financial/legal  self interest.  Perhaps other readers would be able to overlook this and just enjoy the mystery on its own.

The Modern Cast Iron Cookbook by Tiffany La Forge

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I received a free digital copy of The Modern Cast Iron Cookbook from NetGalley in exchange for  a fair review.

If you like cast iron cooking, this will definitely be a book to expand your horizons.  Usually when you buy device or product type cookbooks, like Cast Iron or slow cooker or rice cooker, etc, it seems like they offer the same classic recipes rehashed over and over, so if you have one you don’t need another.  That is not the case with this truly “modern” cast iron cookbook, this is not reprinting of the classic “Lodge”- type recipes and family classics.  Instead, recipes range from a Green Shakshuka, to Naan bread, to skillet lasagna and Zucchini Tacos with Goat Cheese, there is a great variety in the types of recipes and in the cuisines  that are on offer.  There are varying effort levels in the recipes, some simple 5 ingredient type dishes and others that require a bit more to put together.  This is definitely a versatile Cast Iron cookbook .  A good cookbook for anyone who uses cast iron from the complete newbie to the seasoned pro.

Tide and Punishment by Bree Baker

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I received a free copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This is the third in the A Seaside Cafe Mystery Series by Bree Baker.  Protagonist Everly Swan is happy in her hometown of Charm operating an Cafe specializing in Ice Teas based on her family recipes.  She lives in an apartment above her cafe near her Great Aunts with a cat and visiting bird, who may or may not be the reincarnation of an earlier resident.  One her Great Aunts has decided to challenge the incumbent Mayor in the next Mayoral race and so when he ends up dead, she seems like the logical suspect.

Everly sets her sights on clearing her Great Aunt’s name and having the holiday season go off without a hitch.  While all of this is going on there are also hints of a budding romance and new woman in town who may mean trouble.  This is a great installment in a charming series that never fails to deliver.  The setting, recurring characters and theme all deliver that charm that cozy readers look for and the plots deliver enough mystery to keep you guessing.

A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

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A Deadly Eclair is the first in a new series by Daryl Wood Gerber.  I enjoy Ms. Gerber’s Cookbook Nook series and her Cheese shop series so I was happy to see another series from her.  This series is set in the Napa Valley and is centered on Mimi who is opening a French Bistro and Inn with a very generous financial help from a benefactor who believed in her ability to make a go of the enterprise.  During her first big event, a guest is murdered and Mimi herself is a suspect.  She takes it upon herself to investigate to clear her name and save her business.  I struggled with this one and I’m not sure I’ll read further in the series.  I didn’t find Mimi a likable character or one who is easy to relate to, but perhaps others, particularly people who like the Napa Valley theme will enjoy this.

Dead as a Door Knocker & First-Degree Fudge

Dead as a Door Knocker is the first in the A House Flipper Mystery.  Whitney Whitaker is attempting her first flip with the aid of her cousin.  She isn’t new to the industry, she is already a carpenter, property manager and working on her real estate license.  What seems like a no-fail proposition quickly goes south, when a body is discovered on the property.  This was a well thought out mystery with plenty of suspects to think about, an engaging cast of character, and an interesting theme that doesn’t overwhelm the mystery.

First-Degree Fudge is the first in the A Fudge Shop Mystery.  The setting is a fishing town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Ava has set up a Fudge shop in her grandfather’s bait and tackle shop and is trying to make a go of it in her home town after leaving in a cloud of disgrace some years earlier.  As Ava prepares for her grand opening and her first big public event a body is found with a piece of her fudge in their mouth.  Needless to say things don’t look good for Ava’s new business.  Ava’s judgement is more questionable than most cozy mystery sleuths and local law enforcement depiction is more heavy handed here.

Death in Paris by Emilia Bernhard

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Death in Paris is a lovely slice of life for an American ex-pat living in Paris.  The sleuths are a pair of friends who decide to investigate the death of one of their ex-boyfriends under what appears to them, but no one else as suspicious circumstances.  Rachel and her best friend Magda insert themselves into the upper crust world of financier Edgar Bowen  as they try to work out how and why he died.

The novel does an extremely good job of painting a picture of Paris.  There are a great deal of sensory details and explanations of why people like Rachel are attracted to it and then remain there.  There is definitely a well developed sense of place.  The same attention is also given to the details in describing the characters and giving you a sense of who all of them were to Edgar.  There is a lot of detail throughout this novel.  A good read for traditional mystery fans.

No Good Tea Goes Unpunished & The Stone Circle

No Good Tea Goes Unpunished is book 2 in the A Seaside Cafe Mystery.  Everly is organizing a wedding on the beach for a former classmate and her wealthy fiance.  The wedding seems to be a success until someone ends up dead, done in with the knife intended to cut the cake.  Everly can’t help but stick her nose in as the bride is a friend and strange things keep happening to draw her into the mystery.  Great mystery plot and a couple interesting side plots, one a budding romance, the other involving Everly’s Aunts, their beekeeping business and bee conservation.  Very good cozy mystery read.

The Stone Circle is book 11 in the Ruth Galloway Mystery Series.  I really think this is one of the better installments in the series.  Revisiting shades of Erik the Viking, from earlier books and  the earlier cases.  I do think reading this series in order would make the reader appreciate it more, but you could probably read it as a stand alone if you wanted to.  Ruth is called to examine some remains found in a Stone Circle at the same time that DCI Nelson begins getting letters again regarding a cold case.  Then another body is found and this one is definitely not from the Iron Age.  The letters keep coming and Nelson and his team have to try to solve a case complicated by obvious connections to an already dead suspect.  There is the ongoing subplot of the love triangle between Ruth, Nelson and Michelle.  Cathbad and Judy’s family also feature prominently in this installment.  Very good mystery read.