Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: Death in Salem (Will Rees Mysteries #4) by Eleanor Kuhns

  • Series: Will Rees Mysteries (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 16, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250067022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250067029

Book Description

 It’s 1796, and traveling weaver Will Rees is visiting Salem, Massachusetts. He's in town to buy a luxurious gift for his pregnant wife, a few yards of well-made fabric from the traders at the famed Salem harbor. While traveling through Salem, however, Rees comes upon a funeral procession for the deceased Mrs. Antiss Boothe. When Rees happens upon Twig, a friend who fought alongside him in the war, he learns that Mrs. Boothe had been very ill, and her death had not come as a surprise. But the next morning, the town is abuzz with the news that Mr. Boothe has also died—and this time it is clearly murder. When the woman that Twig loves falls under suspicion, Twig persuades Rees to stay in Salem, despite the family waiting for him back home in Maine, and help solve the murder.

Rees is quickly pulled into the murky politics of both Salem and the Boothe family, who have long been involved in the robust shipping and trading industry on the Salem harbor. Everyone Rees meets seems to be keeping some kind of secret, but could any of them actually have committed murder?

Will Rees returns in Death in Salem, the next delightful historical mystery from MB/MWA First Novel Competition winner Eleanor Kuhns

About the Author

 Eleanor is a lifelong librarian. She wrote her first story at the age of ten and hasn't stopped since. She lives with her husband and dog in New York State.

My Review

Death in Salem is the fourth book in the Will Rees Mystery series by author Eleanor Kuhns. Death in Salem is the first book in the series that I have read. It definitely will not be the last.

As a Canadian, I did not learn American history in school. Most of the things that I know I learned by reading books. Reading a delightful novel is the best way to learn history in my opinion! I always enjoy reading books in historical settings.

I've been to Salem before and was very intrigued by the witchcraft history. Eleanor Kuhns does a fabulous job of bringing this dark and fascinating period in history to lift. Will Rees is visiting Salem in order to buy a gift for his wife. He is caught up in a murder involving the Boothe family as his old friend Twig's girlfriend is under suspicion.

I love the authenticity author Kuhns brings to Death in Salem. She portrays the darkness of Salem vividly. Her characters really bring Salem in the late 1700s to life. I enjoyed the twists in the plot and the mood of the novel.

Great historical mystery! Loved learning more about this period. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Review: Butter Off Dead (Food Lovers' Village Mystery #3) by Leslie Budewitz

  • Series: Food Lovers' Village (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (July 7, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425259560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425259566

Book Description

 As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana, try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local vendor...

In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, filled with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.

To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin has to find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. But the closer she gets to the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program...


Reviews: Praise for the Food Lovers’ Village mysteries

“An intriguing sleuth who loves gourmet food, family, and her hometown, plus recipes to die for distinguish a delectable mystery.”—Carolyn Hart, New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Go Home

“Clever, charming, and completely yummy. Leslie Budewitz cooks up a delectable mystery!”—Hank Phillippi Ryan, award-winning author of The Wrong Girl

“Small-town charm and big-time chills. Jewel Bay, Montana, is a food lover’s paradise.”—Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author“Seamless and satisfying.”—Sheila Connolly, New York Times bestselling author“A delicious new series...Charming.”—Sofie Kelly, New York Times bestselling author

“Engrossing and satisfying.”—Fresh Fiction

About the Author

From Goodreads:  As the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries continue with BUTTER OFF DEAD (July 2015, Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin Random House), Erin Murphy and the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker ...

Welcome to Jewel Bay, Montana, a lakeside community in NW Montana that calls itself a food lovers' village. The fun began with DEATH AL DENTE---pasta, murder, and the search for the perfect huckleberry chocolate---and winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel! In the sequel, CRIME RIB (July 2014), murder at the annual Jewel Bay Steak Grill-off threatens to send the town up in smoke.

I'm also the author of the Spice Shop Mysteries, beginning with ASSAULT AND PEPPER (March 2015). Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer--until a murderer ends up in the mix...

Read excerpts and more at And for seasonal updates on the writing life and info on new releases, join my newsletter mailing list -- visit the website to subscribe.

I'm also the author of the 2011 Agatha Award winner for Best Nonfiction, BOOKS, CROOKS & COUNSELORS: HOW TO WRITE ACCURATELY ABOUT CRIMINAL LAW AND COURTROOM PROCEDURE (Quill Driver Books), a reference for writers and readers. For an excerpt and more, visit

My Review

Butter Off Dead is the third installment in the Food Lovers' Village Mystery series by author Leslie Budewitz.  This series features Erin Murphy and the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana. In Butter Off Dead the Jewel Bay merchants attempt to attract winter tourists with a film festival. So the beauty of Montana, gourmet food and a film festival...what more can you ask for! Well a murder of course.

I enjoy cozies published by Berkley because so you know that you are going to read a well-written novel with a great story. Butter Off Dead can be read as a stand alone. I had not read the earlier books in the series (yet!) and it did not affect my enjoyment one bit. 

Erin's partner in planning Jewel Bay's First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, Christine, is found dead just before the opening of the festival. Does someone want to stop the festival? Could the killer be Nick who is Christine's boyfriend and Erin's brother? Could Erin be next? You'll have to read Butter Off Dead to find out!

Great cozy mystery! I'm already looking forward to the next one in the series! Keep them coming Leslie Budewitz!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: Killer Jam (A Dewberry Farm Mystery #1) by Karen MacInerney

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3763 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (July 28 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00U0N5GJM

Book Description

 When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother’s farm in Buttercup, Texas, she’s looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader. But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick. Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders’ Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy’s jam jars beside her…and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie’s neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she’s not the only one who had a beef with Nettie. Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare?

About the Author

 From Goodreads:  I'm the author of the Agatha-nominated Gray Whale Inn mystery series, Tales of an Urban Werewolf. the Margie Peterson mysteries and the upcoming Dewberry Farm mysteries (plus a new fantasy in the works). My reading is like my writing: eclectic!

I grew up in the Northeast, but I currently live in Austin with my husband, two kids, and a houserabbit named Bunny. Feel free to visit me online at; I love connecting with readers.

My Review

 Killer Jam is the first book in the new Dewberry Farms Mystery series by author Karen MacInerney. Cozy readers will be familiar with MacInerney from her Grey Whale Inn series. Whereas the Grey Whale Inn series is set in Maine, this new series is set in the fictional town of Buttercup which is located in the Texas Hill Country.

So this series has some major pluses going for it right from the start. Karen MacInerney is a good writer. She writes about real people living in realistic circumstances. She has developed a great writing style that keeps the plot moving along. She does not fill her pages with unnecessary fluff which several cozy authors do.

There is mystery, romance and a great setting. The Texas Hill Country is a beautiful area that is  filled with historic Texan charm. Lucy is trying to make a go of sustainable farm living on her ancestors farm which she has recently purchased from a local land baron(ess). Unmarried at 37, she is living with her dog, an escape artist cow and chickens. And dewberries of is Dewberry Farm. Then there is that handsome local vet!

Seriously good satisfying mystery. Loved the ending. Yummy recipes and instructions for making mason jar beeswax candles at the end of the book.

Killer Jam is a great first book in the new Dewberry Farm series. Highly recommend! Looking forward to the second one already!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: The Redeemers (A Quinn Colson Novel) by Ace Atkins

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1555 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (July 21 2015)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00OQS4CC4

Book Description

The electrifying new novel in New York Times–bestselling author Ace Atkins’s acclaimed series about the real Deep South.

He is only in his early thirties, but now Quinn Colson is jobless—voted out of office as sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, thanks to the machinations of county kingpin Johnny Stagg. He has offers, in bigger and better places, but before he goes, he’s got one more job to do—bring down Stagg’s criminal operations for good.

At least that’s the plan. But in the middle of the long, hot summer, a trio of criminals stage a bold, wall-smashing break-in at the home of a local lumber mill owner, making off with a million dollars in cash from his safe, which is curious, because the mill owner is wealthy—but not that wealthy. None of this has anything to do with Colson, but during the investigation, two men are killed, one of them the new sheriff. His friend, acting sheriff Lillie Virgil, and a dangerous former flame, Anna Lee Stevens, both ask him to step in, and reluctantly he does, only to discover that that safe contained more than just money—it held secrets.

Secrets that could either save Colson—or destroy him once and for all.

About the Author

Ace Atkins is the author of eight novels, including his latest, Infamous, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

A former journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of The Tampa Tribune, he published his first novel, Crossroad Blues, at 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30.

While at the Tribune, Ace earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for a feature series based on his investigation into a forgotten murder of the 1950s. The story became the core of his critically acclaimed novel, White Shadow, which earned raves from noted authors and critics. In his next novels, Wicked City, Devil’s Garden, and now Infamous, Ace continues to carve a new a niche as both a talented storyteller and a meticulous journalist, blending first-hand interviews and original research into police and court records with tightly woven plots and incisive characters. Ace’s novels tell great American stories, weaving fact and fiction into a colorful, seamless tapestry.

Infamous, Devil’s Garden, Wicked City, and White Shadow are all very personal books for Atkins, all set in his former and current homes: San Francisco, where he lived as a child; Alabama, his family’s home and where he was born and went to college; and Tampa, where he embarked on his career as a writer and now the MidSouth where he now calls home.

Each novel contains bits of himself—friends and colleagues he once knew, people he respected or admired, family members, and personal heroes.

Right now, Ace is developing a new series for his longtime publisher—home to Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Robert Crais, John Sandford, and Robert B. Parker—set in rural Mississippi. The first of these novels will hit stores in Spring 2011.

Ace lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family.

My Review

Awesome series! I love the Quinn Colson series by Ace Atkins. The Redeemers is a fabulous addition to this series. It is the fifth.

Tibbehah County, Mississippi....corruption is always boiling over and Quinn Colson is always ready to save the day. Johnny Stagg has long run the county..until Quinn came back to town after countless tours of duty overseas. Colson had been the sheriff until he was voted out in the last election. In the opening pages of the novel, he is just ending his term. The new sheriff, Rusty, who is a former insurance salesman, has big shoes to fill.

One of Johnny Stagg's cronies is robbed in a spectacular fashion on New Years Eve. Cobb's funds from his dirty dealings are in the safe. The biggest suspect is...his former son-in-law...who the reader knows is behind the plot. Oh but this twisty plot keeps you constantly guessing at what is going to happen next. So many bad guys!

The Redeemers is released in July. It is an absorbing and action-filled read. You need to read this series. If you have not discovered him yet, Ace Atkins is an intriguing writer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: NIrV Study Bible for Kids

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Hardcover: 1792 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (June 30, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310744032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310744030

Book Description

An updated study Bible with an all-new design for kids ages 6-10 using the NIrV written at a third-grade reading level.

The bestselling NIrV Study Bible for Kids starts early readers ages 6-10 on the rewarding path of reading and studying God's Word. This Bible uses the complete text of the New International Reader's Version® (NIrV) which is written at a third-grade reading level and is perfect for those learning to read. With colorful artwork, easy-to-read Bible text, and fun features, kids will engage with the Bible in a way that makes it stick.

Features include:
  • Presentation page for personalization and gift giving
  • 32 full-color pages include illustrations to bring Bible characters and events to life plus helpful study information about the Ten Commandments, how to become a Christian, prayer, and more
  • Check It Out: sketches and descriptions of what life was like in Bible times
  • Brain Game: questions to help kids remember important Bible themes
  • Soak It Up: great verses for kids to memorize
  • Book Introductions: brief overviews of each book with an outline of key events
  • Dictionary: Bible words for quick reference
  • Map section

My Review

This review is for the hard cover version of the NIrV Study Bible for Kids.

The NIrV Study Bible for Kids is a beautiful bible that is just perfect for children aged 6 to 10 as it is written at a Grade 3 reading level. It would also be appropriate for readers that are new to English and new to the bible.

The NIrV Study Bible for Kids is a sturdy book. It has large enough print that it is easily read. There are some beautiful illustrations throughout the bible. Each book has an introduction. There are helpful study tips throughout:  Brain Games, Soak It Up and Check It Out. There is a dictionary and there are maps! For children to understand how people lived in the world of the New Testament there is a section beginning on page 1769 of the hardcover version.

At the beginning of this bible, there is a section that explains what the bible is, what is in the bible and simple explanations about the how the bible is separated into sections such as the Gospels. There are some options for reading the bible and a list of top bible stories.

The NIrV Study Bible for Kids is a great resource for children. I just love it and cannot wait until I have grandchildren to share it with. It is available on June 30th, 2015.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Last Chance Hero by Hope Ramsay

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2027 KB
  • Print Length: 344 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1455556483
  • Publisher: Forever (June 30 2015)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00O7X61FE

Book Description

 Ross Gardiner has had his fill of difficult relationships. Returning to Last Chance after a rough divorce, the town's handsome new fire chief just wants safety and stability-a tall order given his dangerous job and the way he has the attention of all the single women in town. All except Sabina Grey, the girl who stole his heart when they were teenagers.

Sabina knows a lot about playing it safe. Always the good girl, she's now responsible for her antiques store and caring for her sister. But having Ross in town brings back the memory of one carefree summer night when she threw caution to the wind-and almost destroyed her family. Now that they are both older and wiser, will the spark still be there, even though they've both been burned?

About the Author

 Hope Ramsay was born in New York and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. Hope earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Buffalo, and has had various jobs working as a Congressional aide, a lobbyist, a public relations consultant, and a meeting planner. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart, and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar

My Review

The Last Chance romance series by Hope Ramsay has been a great series. Last Chance Hero is the latest addition. And it is a great addition to the series.

When the story opens Ross, the fire chief in Last Chance, is set to marry Lucy. It is a comfortable relationship with no great sparks. Whoa...whenever Ross is near Lucy's sister Sabina...oh oh...sparks! Ditto for Sabina whenever she is near Ross. The reader knows that Sabina and Ross will find each other eventually...oh but the ride they go on to get there. There is some mystery involved with arson on some homes. Sabina and Lucy's overbearing mother is pushing the marriage ahead whenever there is a roadblock. Then of course, there is Miriam Randall's prediction about Lucy and Sabina to deal with. There are many twists and turns but you'll love the ending.

Hope Ramsay knows how to write a great romance. Loved it! You will too if you enjoy a good romance.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: Ghost Roll: A Bell Elkins Story by Julia Keller

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 835 KB
  • Print Length: 54 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (June 9 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00S54VUF2

Book Description

 Bell Elkins, prosecuting attorney and small-town heroine of Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Keller's A Killing in the Hills, Bitter River and Summer of the Dead, faces one of her most challenging days in this exclusive digital short story. Featuring an exclusive extract from her new full-length novel Last Ragged Breath.

For Bell Elkins no day is ever the same.

But on this day, for the third day running, Bell has woken up from the same dream. A dream about a boy needing her help, reaching out to her. Bell, always unable to help.

Already unsettled, she becomes embroiled, in her role as prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, in an investigation into a couple running a local day-care centre, and Bell suspects that her day is only going to get worse. A suspicion that is compounded when she's forced to confront a friend's treachery and a ghost from her past.

No day is ever the same, but will Bell be forever changed by this one?

About the Author

 Julia was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. She graduated from Marshall University, then later earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University.

She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at Princeton and Ohio State Universities, and the University of Notre Dame. She is a guest essayist on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS and has been a contributor on CNN and NBC Nightly News. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Julia lives in a high-rise in Chicago and a stone cottage on a lake in rural Ohio.

My Review

 I love the Bell Elkins series by Julia Keller. Julia is one of my go-to authors. I know whatever she writes is going to be good. Ghost Roll will have to hold me over until the release of Last Ragged Breath in August.

The earlier Bell Elkins short stories had explored Bell's past. This one is set in the present. Bell is having dreams featuring a small boy at a window. Who is this boy? What are the dreams trying to tell her. We quickly learn that the small boy is son of the owners of a daycare center that is actually just a front, a money laundering enterprise, for selling prescription drugs illegally. The sign-in list of children is actually a Ghost Roll.  Prescription drugs are ravaging the Appalachians.

And an old friend's father comes to town.  The old friend who was the secret service friend in Bitter River. There are ghosts everywhere in Ghost Roll.

I was pulled into reality by an important statement in Ghost Roll...that outsiders look at a small town in those hills and think that it is quaint and filled with good people. It's not anymore. Things have changed. The economy has ground to a halt and the only people making money are bad people. Despair rules the day. That is the new reality.

Great read. Last Ragged Breath...August is not coming fast enough!