Ellie Alexander: A Smoking Bun

Bakeshop #18

A Smoking Bun is the 18th Bake Shop Mystery book by Ellie Alexander. I was so excited to see the next instalment in our baker and part time detective Jules Capshaw’s adventures. Her ever growing foodie empire has been a joy to watch expand. Jules cares about her community and has forged her place in Ashland, Oregon after many trials and tribulations and has even settled her family here. It isn’t all family and fondant for her, however. Jules also has made a bit of a name for herself in helping the local police detective, known primarily as The Professor, and now also to her as stepdad, solve several murders. She tries her best to stay away from any dangerous situations, but when a friend is in need she cannot turn away. read more

Emily George: A High Tide Murder

Cannabis Cafe #2

Quick disclaimer for this particular review: this book is a part of the Cannabis Café mystery series by Emily George. Legalized cannabis and its uses are a major theme in A High Tide Murder. If this topic puts you off, please stop reading. Right now. Medical use is the driving motivation, but it is also used recreationally by the café patrons. As the book cover, and many characters, emphasize: consume responsibly. This goes for reading about it, too. If you know legalized cannabis isn’t something you are comfortable with, do not read this review or the book. Cozies are meant to be an enjoyable escape, but not every book is for everyone. For those who do not mind, or perhaps even enjoy seeing legalized cannabis normalized, this is indeed a review and book for you. If not? Again, stop reading this. read more

March & May Book clubs – Laurie R. King rules the month of May!

Laurie R. King

In March, we’ll meet on zoom on Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m. to discuss Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Edgar nominated Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers.  This meeting was moved to March so we’d have copies available, and we do!  This is such a fun, hilarious, yet sweet read.  Look forward to the discussion.

We’re skipping April and meeting twice in May.  Join us May  5 at 2 p.m. on zoom to discuss Laurie R. King’s classic, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.  And, wonderful news – Laurie will be joining us!  This is the 30th anniversary of the first Mary Russell novel, where Mary meets the elderly Sherlock Holmes.  From Kirkus, in 1994: “Nothing in King’s brooding debut A Grave Talent (1993) could have prepared you for this uncommonly rich Sherlockian pastiche, in which the great detective is brought out of retirement among the bees of Sussex by a new amanuensis, budding theologian Mary Russell. Meeting the great man at the awkward age of 15, Russell (as he calls her) proves herself his intellectual equal even before their first case- -mysterious bouts of illness that befall their victims only in clear weather. After investigating a robbery and a kidnapping with Holmes, Mary goes to Oxford, and just when you’ve resigned yourself to more unrelated adventures, the story takes off with a series of bombings that put both Holmes and Mary in danger, and call forth both their sharpest mental efforts and their deepest feelings.” read more

Patrice McDonough: Murder by Lamplight


If I were a magic eight ball, I’d say that all signs point to this satisfying and enjoyable debut setting up a series with a long, long run.  Set in London in 1866, the central character is Dr. Julia Lewis, an American educated physician (it was not possible for women to get a degree in England at the time) who is running her grandfather’s practice. But because he is ill, when the office gets the order to attend to a murder victim, it’s Julia who must take the call.

The dead man is a priest, found mutilated and naked, and though the police on the scene are initially a bit shocked at Julia’s gender, they eventually accept her expertise.  Inspector Tennant is controlled and quiet, and he and the doctor begin awkwardly, but gradually smooth things out. read more

Hank Phillippi Ryan: One Wrong Word

Perhaps it’s appropriate that one of wordsmith Hank Phillippi Ryan’s best books revolves around the correct, and powerful, use of words. Her central character, Arden Ward, works for a crisis management firm, and as the book opens, she’s being fired. Even though her boss knows it isn’t true, he’s pleasing a client whose wife thinks Arden was fooling around with him. Arden is heartbroken – she loves her job – but her boss offers her a last client with a great reference to follow.  Arden agrees – she needs the reference. read more

Darci Hannah: Murder at the Blarney Bash

Beacon Bakeshop #5

Darci Hannah starts Murder at the Blarney Bash mystery running. Literally. The main focus of the story runs full speed into our heroine Lindsey’s car on her way home with her trusty Newfoundland, Wellington. However, whoever it was got away before she could ensure their well being, or find out who they were. Or what they were. She does not have time to dwell on it, as a league of leprechauns is heading right to her Beacon Bakeshop. Leprechaun children, that is, from the local school who are all looking forward to a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration chock full of tasty green pastries. So Lindsey has to race to beat them there, or at least not be too late. read more

Traci Hall: Murder at a Scottish Castle

Scottish Shire #5

Traci Hall’s fifth book in her A Scottish Shire series is Murder at a Scottish Castle. This series has made an impact on me thanks to Hall’s ability to immerse readers in a Scottish atmosphere with her accurate use of the language and descriptions of the village of Nairn. Paisley, our protagonist, has been invited by the Dowager Countess to Ramsey Castle for an end of summer bagpiping competition. Even better news is that now she’s onto the Dowager Countess’ radar, as she wants to sell her cashmere goods at the castle gift shop. As a single mother and business owner, Paisley is always ready to go after extra sources of income. Of course, when she goes, she must take her son Brody, her grandpa, and their black Scottish terrier, Wallace, with her. Good competition and newly discovered rivalries keep the bagpiping competition going strong with lovely music and high spirits. That’s until one of the competitors, the reigning champion no less, suddenly collapses. Soon after, DI Zeffer is on the scene, proclaiming the champion not only dead but most likely murdered. read more

February & March Book Clubs

We’ve had a rearrangement of our book club schedule.  In February, we’ll be reading Val McDermid’s Karen Pirie novel, Broken Ground.  As before, we’ll meet on Sunday, February 18 at 2 p.m. on zoom.  Please message me for a link at store (at) auntagathas.com.  Here’s a description from the publisher: Alice Somerville’s inheritance lies six feet under in a Highland peat bog – a pair of valuable vintage motorbikes buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally organises their recovery, she finds an unwelcome surprise -a body with a pair of bullet holes . . . and Nike trainers. DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit is called in to unravel a case where nothing is quite as it seems. read more

Catie Murphy: Death by Irish Whiskey

Dublin Driver #5

Death by Irish Whiskey is Catie Murphy’s fifth installment in her Dublin Driver Mysteries series. Megan, also known to the town as ‘The Murder Driver,’ is taking some time off from her limo driving job to enjoy one of Ireland’s main specialties: whiskey. Her Uncle Rabbie is taking part in a whiskey tasting event and competition, alongside his business partner, famous Irish star Niahn. Glitz, glam, and whiskey are the only things on Megan’s mind for this big event, but fate has something else planned for her. A competitor and boxer, Angus McConal, suddenly drops dead. If that isn’t bad enough, Uncle Rabbie is under suspicion. Megan has promised her girlfriend, Jelena, that she won’t do any more amateur sleuthing – but saying it and doing it are two very different things. The local Guarda don’t buy her insistence that she won’t nose about, and are quick to warn her away from the case. read more

Heather Weidner: Twinkle, Twinkle Au Revoir

Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe #2

Twinkle Twinkle Au Revoir is Heather Weidner’s second book in her Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe series. The story follows Jade Hicks and her trusty side kick, French bulldog Chloe, as their town is invaded by Hollywood.  The popular television program ‘My Costal Valentine’ has decided Mermaid Bay is the perfect place to film their next instalment. The Hollywood invasion is received with the grace and poise one might expect, in that it turns the whole town completely on its head. Fans and reporters flood the streets, blocking traffic, getting into people’s yards for a hopeful glimpse of stardom. At least the local businesses are booming. Other than the surplus population in town and the sudden loss of privacy, the Hollywood shoot promises to put Mermaid Bay on the map. Unfortunately, the atmosphere sours when an overzealous reporter is found dead in one of the actor’s rooms. Then someone tries to kill the show’s male star, heartthrob to hundreds, Raphael Allard. Mermaid Bay starts to look a bit more nefarious than romantic. read more