Mackinac Island is an idyllic place to live or vacation. There are numerous motels and bed and breakfast places to stay while you visit the shops and soak in the history of the area. There are no cars allowed on the island, except for emergency vehicles. There are fudge shops everywhere, so many that Willy Wonka would be impressed. As in most small towns, everyone knows everyone else and most times that is a great thing. The island is quiet, calm and peaceful. That is until an explosion occurs at a factory full of fireworks. The very same fireworks that Allie McMurphy had arranged to entertain the small town with for the Fourth of July celebration. Will she be able to deliver the goods for the event or will it turn out to be a dud?
Besides the explosion of the fireworks, there are a series of fires occurring on the island. At first it is believed that these fires are just random happenings, but soon arson is suspected. Allie and her friends are perplexed at what is happening to their tranquil island and are determined to figure out the mystery.
Characters introduced in the first two books in the series return and there are a couple of new people we meet. It appears as though Allie has made her decision as to who she is more attracted to (she has two possible suitors in the first two books) and we see the relationship begin to grow and develop. All of the characters are realistic and well rounded and I enjoy reading about all their antics. Mal, Allie’s puppy, is again very active, nosing out trouble on the island. And dancing around everyone hoping for dog treats. She is adorable and has quite the personality. I just wish people would hold on tighter to her leash when they take her for walks!
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is descriptive with her writing and I felt like I was right there on the Island watching all the action going on. It seemed like I could smell the smoke and hear the explosions when I was reading about them. The mystery is well plotted and there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. I had an idea who the culprit was and this time I was right. But that is alright because I did not know the why.
At the end of some chapters there are recipes for fudge. Who knew there are so many things you can do to fudge to create exotic flavors. I enjoyed reading about all the different flavors that Allie made and with the recipes included in the book, anyone can try to make them for themselves.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy. I usually do not read the same author consecutively, but I read all three books in this series within a week. That should tell you how much I enjoyed them all. Now I have to read for the fourth book to be written and released.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Maeve Kinkaid has inherited her aunt Alice’s food truck after her passing. Although she does not really know anything about running it, she is willing to give it a try. She wants to keep her aunt’s memory alive, and besides, it beats sitting on her parent’s couch watching television.
Land, a Basque chef who has worked on the food truck with her aunt, tells Maeve that her aunt had promised to leave the truck to him. He is not happy that Maeve was given the truck, and he does not try to hide his displeasure. Maeve does not know if what he says is true, she only knows that the lawyer told her it was bequeathed to her. But when she finds another will that shows that Land might be telling the truth, she is not sure what to do. Her mother tells her to forget about it and burn it, but she decides the right thing to do is to take it to a lawyer and have it checked out.
While she is worrying about the new will, trying to keep the food truck afloat and deal with a hostile employee, a murder takes place at a rival food truck. This just adds to her concerns. And when no one can tell her why her aunt wanted the food truck and how she afforded it, she has many more questions than answers. It is going to take a lot of sleuthing to find the answers she needs and figure out the truth.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author does a great job creating suspense and tension with the written word. There are numerous twists and turns and a list of suspects that seem to continue to grow. I did not figure out the killer until it was revealed at the end. I thought the ending was a surprise and I liked that.
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. I enjoyed getting to know Maeve and look forward to getting to know her better in future books. The author is descriptive and there were times I felt like I was right there watching all the action around me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. This is a new author to me and I am happy to see that she has written other books. I plan on checking those out. I love when I find a new author that that I enjoy reading. It is like finding a gift.
Zak and Zoe know what type of wedding they want. A small quiet affair on the beach with family and close friends in attendance. They want Ellie and Levi, their best friends, to stand up for them. They want their dogs and the two young children they love to be ring bearers and flower girls. But when Zak’s mother shows up a month before the ceremony with a wedding planner and celebrity photographer in tow, their wishes fly right out the window. Many members of Zak’s family also show up and take over the house. With Zak out of town with work problems, it is up to Zoe to restore order and still get the wedding that she has dreamed of. That job will be as hard to achieve as the murder that needs to be solved, maybe even harder.
Almost the first half of the book is dealing with Zoe and her wedding day blues. But there is definitely a mystery going on in the first half of the book: will Zoe kill or maim her mother, Zak’s mother or members of the wedding planning entourage? And if so, how will she do it? It was so much fun reading all about the wedding plans and the troubles that Zoe faced that I am glad the murder happened later in the book. Having read all of the books in the series, I feel like Zoe and Zak and their gang are people I know and like. I needed time to catch up on their lives before trying to solve a mystery. There were times while reading that I was laughing out loud and other times I thought, “Oh Boy, this is not good”.
I think what makes the author’s books and series so good is the characters she has created. They are everyday people who have unshakeable friendships and for the time you are reading her books, they are your friends too. She is also very good at describing small town America and transports the readers there with just her written words. Every time I read one of her book, I feel like I am taking a mini-vacation. As a reader, this is a great thing.
I really cannot recommend this book (as well as the other books in this series and Kathi’s other series) enough to all cozy lovers. For anyone who enjoys a mystery with small town settings and family and friends, this is a must read. Do yourself a favor and start this series (Zoe Donovan Mystery series) at the beginning and enjoy your journey. You will not be disappointed.
Allie is busy making fudge and confectionery sweets for the upcoming Lilac Festival. She wants to make a good showing from the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop since this is her first year as the owner-operator. But things always get more complicated for Allie than she expects, and this time is no different. When her puppy Mal uncovers bone fragments in a freshly mulched area she knows that there will be another murder mystery to solve. And when her mentor and friend arrives on the island and asks her to be a last minute replacement on a reality television show, she cannot say no. Between the late night shooting of the show and her early morning fudge making duties, she is totally overwhelmed and worn out. When the body of one of the cast members is discovered and her mentor is beaten, she is totally freaked out because she has become a prime suspect. She now has to try to solve the mysteries, as well as prepare for the Festival and run her shop, before she is thrown in jail for life.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is descriptive with her writing and I felt like I was right there on the Island watching all the action going on. There were some tense moments and I was afraid to turn the pages because I did not know how things were going to work themselves out. The mysteries are well plotted and not easy to solve. There are a lot of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and just when I thought I had it figured out, something else would happen to make me change my mind. I really enjoy when that happens when I read a mystery.
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. I enjoyed learning more about their personalities and I really enjoyed reading about the interactions between them. There are still two possible love interests for Allie and I cannot figure out which one she likes best. Maybe the next book in series will reveal this. Mal, Allie’s little puppy, plays a very big role in the solving one of the mysteries. I can just picture her in my mind digging and sniffing and then smiling when she presents Allie with the bones. I love reading about her antics.
I am a big fan of reality television competition shows and I really enjoyed reading about this in the book. The author presented them in the way I think most of them operate, being more scripted than reality. I liked reading about how I think the shows are really produced.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. This is the second book in the series and I would recommend reading book one, All Fudged Up, first so that you can watch the growth of the characters between the books. The third book will be released soon and I will definitely be reading that one too.
Jamie Sinclair Is a private investigator who specializes in security problems. She receives a phone call from her no-good ex-husband asking for her help. His young daughter has been kidnapped and he needs Jamie to find her. Since a child is involved, she cannot say no.
She returns to Fort Leeds, where she lived as a child, to begin her search. Working together with the military police, and the FBI, she is determined to find the child before it is too late. But while she is trying to save the child, someone begins stalker her. Now she not only has to be concerned for the child’s safety but also her own.
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. Jamie is a strong determined woman who is good at what she does. But we get to see a softer side of her with her concern over the little girl. And we get the idea that she has self doubts and sometimes wonders if she is good enough. These things make her seem even more human. The three men in her live add a lot to the story.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very talented in creating tension and suspense with just the written word. There are so many twists and turns that I was unable to solve the mystery on my own.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well plotted mystery suspense thriller. This is the first book that I have read by this author but I already have the next book in my to-be-read pile. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Allie McMurphy has returned to Mackinac Island, after receiving her culinary degree, to help her grandfather run the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop. She was supposed to learn the business from her Papa but before that happened, he passed away. Now she has to figure out how to make improvements to the hotel and keep it busy enough to turn a profit. Since the island is a tourist destination, there is plenty of competition from other hotels and bread and breakfast establishments. And the real cut throat competition is the fudge making business. Almost everyone on the island has their own secret recipe for making the best fudge and will stop at nothing to be the best. Allie has a lot to deal with, upgrading the hotel and honing her candy making skills. She really does not have time to deal with the dead body that she finds in a closet. But that is exactly what happens.
The body that she found is a long time rival and friend of her grandfather’s. She is a person of interest because she is the one who found him. And since she has not lived on the island her entire life, she is considered an outsider. The town is divided in two camps, the one supporting Allie and the one that is supporting the deceased grandson, Trent. They have even gone so far as to sell ribbons to indicate which side one is supporting. Allie has two monumental jobs ahead of her, winning over the townspeople and proving that she is innocent. Lucky for her she does have some friends in her corner helping her. But even with their help, will Allie be able to figure out the murderer before they strike again?
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. I really enjoyed reading about the interactions between them and they are people I want to learn more about. There are two possible love interests for Allie and I am interested to see which one she decides she likes better. And her little dog, Mal, is adorable and fun to read about.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is descriptive with her writing and I felt like I was right there on the Island watching all the action going on. The mystery is well plotted and not easy to solve. I thought I had it figured out but I was wrong. There are a lot of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy. This is the first book in the series and I have already picked up the second book because I enjoyed this one so much. Do yourself a favor and read All Fudged Up, I do not think you will be disappointed.
Jenna Thompson has taken a leave of absence from her job as a forensic artist in Baltimore. She has returned to Nashville, where she lived as a child until the age of five. She has returned looking for answers in the brutal murder of her parents and sister. The last case that she worked on in Baltimore, when she found a young child being held captive in a closet, has brought back repressed memories of what happened to her the night her family was murdered. She too was held captive in a closet and she was rescued after being held for nine days. Although the murderer and kidnapper was caught in her case, she feels like there is more to the story. She wants to know why her family was targeted and she keeps seeing “eyes” that she believes hold an important piece of the puzzle.
Rick Morgan is a detective for the Nashville Police Department. When a small child’s bones are discovered, wrapped in a pink blanket, he has a difficult cold case to solve. When his sister suggests asking Jenna, who she has met, if she would reconstruct the face of the child, he knows he has nothing to lose by trying it. Jenna is one of the best forensic artists in the country, and she once again proves her ability by providing them with a reconstructed face that they can go to the media with.
The child cold case is not the only one that Rick must work on. He also has to try to solve a arson that involves a dead woman. He has very little clues to work with but he needs to find out who the arsonist is before more women are murdered and more fires are set.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author does suspense really well and I just had to keep swiping pages to see what would happen next. The suspense started building during the Prologue and just continued to gain momentum throughout the entire book. There were a lot of twists and turn and many suspects to consider. I love the way the author intertwined different storylines and events to create one cohesive storyline. Everything going on is related but I could not figure out how and who the killer was.
The characters are well developed, realistic and three dimensional. The two main characters, Jenna and Rick, both come with baggage from their pasts that is still affecting them. Jenna has her murdered family and kidnapping to deal with and Rick has the fact that he was shot on a routine traffic stop. They are trying to work through these issues while trying to live their lives and work on their current cases. This made them seem very human and fragile and I loved that. Rick has siblings that also work in law enforcement and I was happy to learn a little more about all of them (I met them in book one, Cover Your Eyes). I enjoyed reading about the family dynamics and cannot wait to find out more about them in future books.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a well-crafted suspense/mystery. There is a hint of romance but for the most part I would consider this book a mystery that is a real page-turner. I have read other books by this author and I have enjoyed them all. I do not think you can wrong reading any of her books.
I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. And my honest opinion is that this is a five star book. I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Camryn Brooks has left Washington in the midst of a scandal and has returned to her hometown to be with her family and friends. She begins to manage her parent’s store, the Curio Finds, that specialize in snow globes. The space of the shop is shared by Pinky, one of her best friend’s coffee shop, The Brew Ha-Ha.
The two decide to hold a snow globe making class to help increase business. Everyone that attended the class made their own globe with material supplied by the instructor. When the class is over, Cami finds a snow globe that she has never seen. It shows a man sitting on a park bench appearing to be asleep. When she is walking home from work after the class she decides to cut through the park because it is a faster route. While walking through the park, she sees a man sitting on park bench and when she decides to make sure he is alright, she finds out there is a knife in his back. The victim is someone who has a shady past and Cami knows that there are a number of people who would be happy to see him dead. Including some of her best friends. And when those best friends appear to be hiding something from her, she decides she will have to solve the mystery to make sure they had nothing to do with it.
The cast of characters include Cami, Pinky and their other best friend Erin. There is also Mark, a good friend who is a policeman and an older gentleman named Archie, who is like a grandfather to the three girls. And then there is Clint, the assistant chief of police, who Cami likes and dislikes at the same time. The characters are well developed and realistic.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The writing is descriptive and I felt like I was right there in the small town setting. Whether I was reading about the shops or the park I felt like I was watching the action all around me.
This is the first book in the series and I cannot wait to read further books as they are written. I am sure that the characters will be further developed and I will be interested in seeing if anything develops between Cami and Clint. I love the concept of the snow globes depicting future events and I cannot wait to see what other stories the globes have to tell us. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written cozy with a unique concept.