The Hostess with the Ghostess (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #9) by E.J. Copperman

the hotess with the ghostess


Story Outline:

Things are never quiet for long at the Haunted Guesthouse. Right as Alison Kerby finally gets some peace, long-time deceased Paul Harrison’s recently murdered brother, Richard, shows up looking for the ghostly detective. But Paul has left for parts unknown months ago. The only thing is, she doesn’t know how to find him. And she’s going to need to because Richard’s isn’t the only murder still left unsolved.

As she searches for Paul, Alison discovers that Richard, who was a lawyer, was working a case about a woman accused of murdering her stepfather. It quickly becomes clear that Richard was getting too close to the truth, and was forcibly kept quiet. Now as Alison continues her investigation, she gets a creeping sensation that the murderer doesn’t appreciate her snooping around. And if she doesn’t stop, she’ll be next in The Hostess with the Ghostess, the witty and delightful follow-up to national bestselling author E. J. Copperman’s Spouse on Haunted Hill.


My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books

Being a fan of cozy mysteries and ghosts I was pleased to receive this book for review.
Unfortunately, it fell short of the mark for me. Whilst I did enjoy the idea of the story I just found myself unable to related to any of the characters and I struggled with the style the author used to write the story. I felt for me there was too much engagement toward the reader. Instead of just letting the characters tell the story it felt the author intentionally added bracketed to add humour. I honestly believe that without the little anecdotes the story would flow more freely and the story would have been more enjoyable.

As for the story itself, it had all the makings a great cozy mystery; the characters were interesting and likeable and there was enough action to hold my interest and to keep reading to the end. As with all cozy mysteries, it was a bit of a puzzle to work out who the killer was and that is one thing I can not fault about the book. I love a good mystery and that part definitely did not disappoint.
If you like cozy mysteries then you might enjoy this one as well, just because it was not the book for me does not mean that someone else will not enjoy it.

A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert

A murder for the books


Story Outline:

Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbour whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is sceptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families… including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A Murder for the Books, the first instalment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.



My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books

A debut novel worthy of a best-selling author. “A Murder For The Books” offers the reader not just your run-of-the-mill cozy mystery. It has twists and turns aplenty, family secrets, murder and even a touch of the paranormal.

With a storyline that flows well, it kept me interested and wanting to find out who the killer was and what motivated them to kill in the first place. The characters are well written and relatable. As usual with any mystery novel, this one had me trying to figure out who was the culprit. I had a few theories about some of them but I was incorrect with all my guesses.

In regards to the book itself what stood out for me was the depth of the story. The history of the town and the secrets that many families have kept hidden was interesting to read and should leave even the most amateur of sleuths wanting more.

The developing relationship between Amy and Richard is also another aspect I enjoyed, I am sure as the series develops we will see a lot more between these two. They work well together, even if the author had not chosen them to have a budding romance they definitely make a great detective pairing.

A Case of Syrah, Syrah: A Country Wine Mystery by Nancy J. Parra

A case of syrah, syrah


Story Outline:

Taylor O’Brian is a new businesswoman, founder of “Taylor’s Off The Beaten Path Wine Tours,” who lives on a small winery with her Aunt Jemma. She plans to take small groups around romantic Sonoma county to discover some of the county’s outdoor gardens. It’s all running as smooth as can be until Laura, the leader of the group of yoga instructors she’s leading, is found dead. And it’s Taylor’s corkscrew that’s found buried in Laura’s neck.

She’s not sure who to trust, and everyone around suddenly seems suspect. Only two weeks after the murder, her very own administrative assistant, Amy, marries Laura’s husband, Dan, who doesn’t seem very bereaved about being widowed, and the three yoga masters who were also out on the tour begin to seem shady. Taylor can’t afford to jump ship from her new business endeavour, but just as she begins her investigation, another dead body surfaces. This time, it’s Dan’s sister. And the killer is coming for Taylor next.

Now it’s up to Taylor to uncork this open-bottle mystery before more blood is spilt. For fans of Laura Childs and Ellen Crosby, A Case of Syrah, Syrah is the charming first in bestselling author Nancy J. Parra’s Wine Country mysteries.



My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books

A Case of Syrah, Syrah is another hit in the cozy mysteries genre. Having only read a few books in this genre I was interested to see if I would enjoy it as much as I have previous titles. It did not disappoint.

What you find are some very interesting characters as well as an intriguing storyline. As with all cozy mysteries, I have read in the past this one had me suspecting every character of being the murderer. It was made more difficult, for me at least, as the main character Taylor was being framed for a murder she clearly did not commit.

The author has a talent for throwing the reader off the trail of the killer, for me, it happened on more than one occasion. I thought I had worked out a few times who had committed the crime, only to find out I was wrong. The story flows well, keeping the reading interested in what is happening to the characters. The characters were well written and relatable. There are several that I had thought could be the murderer. At one stage I even thought it might have been her best friend. She had her identity stolen which had happened to other people connected to Laura, the woman that was murdered.

To add further to the book’s depth, the author has included a section on wine and food pairing, which includes recipes and cheese that pair with Syrah wine which is the wine Taylors auntie produces in the book.

Highly recommended.

Reciting From Memory by Jim Landwehr

reciting from memory

My Review:
Reviewed for author for honest review

Jim’s poems were an eye-opening experience for me. As a person who does not read poetry very often and only for reviewing purposes, I always thought of poems being things that have to rhyme to make sense. This collection of poems are more like mini stories. They are beautifully written, giving the reader a great insight into one man’s life. It has not been an easy life by all means but the overwhelming love for family and faith shine through the sadness and brings light where darkness once prevailed.

If you are a lover of poetry with a difference. Prose that paints a very clear and vivid picture of life with all it’s joys and heartaches then this collection is definitely one worth reading.

Written Life by Jim Landwehr

written life

My Review:

Reviewed for author for honest review

A beautiful collection of quirky and sometimes abstract poems give the reader a glimpse of the world from the perspective of the author. A world that is filled with love, loss, grief, joy and ultimately, faith.

Lovers of poetry will read this collection with a smile on their lips, and a tear in their eye. A strong theme throughout is that life has not been easy for the writer of these poems. Suffering loss on a scale that some would never experience, but through it all there is hope and faith.


The book consists of 10 different sections:

On Home containing 5 poems
On Place containing 6 Poems
On Pets containing 5 Poems
On Life containing 7 Poems
On Family containing 7 Poems
On Love containing  5 Poems
On Death containing 9 Poems
On Youth containing 6 Poems
On Religion containing  8 Poems
On Writing containing  5 Poems

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz


P and P and Mistletoe

Story Outline:

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?


My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Hachette Australia

Publication date: 31st October 2017

When the title of this book caught my eye, I was interested in reading it to see what it was like. Being a huge fan of the original Pride and Prejudice I thought it would be interesting to see how the author handles the re-telling in a modern setting. Another thing that enticed me to read it was the role reversals of the main characters Darcy is a female and the male is Luke Bennet. I have previously read books based on Pride and Prejudice which I have enjoyed. This re-telling did not disappoint either. 

With a storyline that flows well keeping the reader engaged and wanting to find out the fate of Darcy and Luke. Although I had a fair idea how the story would finish, it had a few interesting twists to keep the reader guessing to the end.

The characters were a delight to get to know. I found myself wanting things to work out for Darcy when it looked like her fate was sealed with Carl. I absolutely loved the banter between Darcy and her best friend Bingley Charles. At one point when Darcy was giving dating advice to Bingley, it felt like the author was paying homage to another Jane Austen classic “Emma.” Whether this was deliberately done or not I do not know.

All in all, a great read. I believe that fans of the romance genre and Jane Austen will really enjoy it.

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

red hill

Story Outline:
When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

Red Hill grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.

My Review:
When I first started reading Red Hill, I was not convinced that I would like or even enjoy it. I had never read a “zombie” story before. Halfway through I was still not sold on the whole flesh-eating creatures but the characters that the story was based on had started to catch my attention more. With less than a hundred pages to go did not want the book to finish and had become completely compelled to know how it would all end for them.
The story is told from the point of view of three characters, Scarlet, Nathan and Miranda. It was this factor that made the story a lot strong in my opinion. Seeing how each of these characters reacted to and dealt with the horrid situation they all now found themselves in was interesting. I also like how the minor characters had impacts on the main characters. It brought another level to the story. Writing stories that weave people together is a talent Jamie McGuire exudes.
Has the author convinced and converted me to like zombie stories? I am not sure but, it has proven to this reader to never say never.