May 19, 2023 – Book Review – Mango Murder by Angela K. Ryan

On May 19, 2023, Angela K. Ryan released her highly anticipated novel, Mango Murder. It is the 7th book in the Seaside Ice Cream Shop Mysteries. When Anna, the owner of Bella’s Dream ice cream parlor in Seagull Cove, decides to hold a tropical-themed ice cream party to help the community make it through the rest of the cold winter, she doesn’t anticipate murder.

After the Tropical Ice Cream Party, a local teacher is found murdered. Anna needs to find out who killed her after leaving her ice cream shop. Was it the rival teacher vying for the same vice principle job, the two teachers who are bending the rules by dating each other, the principle, or another community member with a grudge?

While trying to find out who done it, Anna is also trying to help woman, Heather, who has amnesia after a car accident. Is Heather a victim or a criminal?

Anna is also trying to help her sister, Bella, try to figure out the mystery she is involved in that has her in hiding.

The captivating story, plot, and strong relatable characters make this book a must-read. If you are looking for a clean, lighthearted mystery, then Mango Murder is the perfect choice. It is sure to keep you turning pages until the satisfying end.

You can order your copy at Amazon or from your local independent book store. Don’t forget to check the authors other books as well.

Thanks for reading.


Juicy Jersey by Lizz Lund

Juicy Jersey book cover

Full of humorous New Jersey stereotypes, Juicy Jersey is a crazy murder mystery. From the opulent home of a family of questionable means to the fun of the Jersey shore, you will enjoy following Mina Kitchen as she tries to figure out who killed the woman her dog-sitting charge found at a highway rest stop. An entertaining, light read – especially for this old Jersey girl.

Thanks for reading.

I’ve been feeling uninspired lately.

It’s been over a month since I posted anything. I’ve had ideas for reviews of both books and healthy food, I just haven’t had the motivation. I need to get back on track.

Here are some highlights from life in the past month +:

  1. Swimming – Mike and I have started going to the pool at our local recreation center on Saturday mornings. It has been wonderful for our joints. We didn’t go last week when I had the flu. This week we went to a comic book show instead. Next week we plan to go to North Port Aquatic Center to check out their pool and lazy river. Can’t wait.
  2. The Winners by Frederik Backman – I had the pleasure to read the upcoming third book in the Beartown series. I am a a big fan of Mr. Backman. His books are wonderful. A review of the book is in the works and will be posted closer to the expected publishing date of September 27, 2022.
  3. Cozy mysteries – I’m on a cozy mystery reading kick. I love to go on Amazon and find the first book in a cozy mystery series to see if I want to read the whole series.
  4. Crafts – I haven’t been crafting as much. I’ve been craft brainstorming but haven’t done much more. I’m starting to feel a little inspiration to get ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas crafts. Stay tuned, there may be a how-to video or two in the works.
  5. Trying to stay cool – I’ve not been successful. It is has been pretty freakin’ hot since what feels like forever. Can’t wait for “cool” weather.

So, what have you been up to this Summer?

Thanks for reading.

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

I have been a fan of Chevy Stevens’ psychological thrillers ever since I read That Night. She has a way of keeping you guessing who did it right up until the end. Dark Roads has the added distinction of being based on a true and tragic mystery, The Highway of Tears. Since the 1970s, a stretch of isolated highway in British Columbia has been rife with missing and murdered women. Most of these women have been indigenous people also known as First Nations. The author chose to highlight the Highway of Tears to bring attention to these tragedies. For more information on the 725 km/467 mile stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, read Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by Jessica McDiarmid or visit

After the death of her father, 17-year-old Hailey goes to live with her Aunt and her cruel, controlling Uncle, Vaughn. While trying to process the loss of her father, Hailey also has to deal with Vaughn controlling who she sees, where she goes, and even if she can get a job. He says it is to keep her safe from the kidnappers/murderers who have been victimizing young girls/women along desolate Highway 16. When Hailey discovers information implicating her uncle in some of the nefarious happenings in town, she is in fear for her life and decides to disappear into the wilderness. With the help of her friends Johnny and Amber, she gathers supplies and prepares to flee. When she does it is assumed to be the latest victim of the Highway of Tears but Hailey is living in a cabin deep in the woods with a stray dog she calls Wolf.

When Amber is murdered in the same manner as many other women along Highway 16, her sister Beth comes to town to try and figure out what happened. Her reliance on alcohol and drugs to deal with Amber’s death puts her in danger from bad cops and predators alike.

This edge-of-your-seat conclusion is very effective and when the actual killer is revealed I was surprised.

Another great thriller by this author.

Thanks for reading.

28 Disastrous Dates by Poppy Mortimer

When I think back on those magical dating years, I either get nostalgic or horrified, depending on the dating scenario I am remembering. Luckily, my dating life was nothing like Poppy Mortimer’s. The 28 dating stories she has written about range from laugh-out-loud funny to down-right scary.

28 Disastrous Dates made me laugh and feel so happy I am not dating any longer. If you want a good laugh, read the book. Just a warning, even though the author doesn’t swear and has kept the stories rather tame, some of the situations are for mature audiences only.

Have a laugh. Reminisce about dating. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

The author and her publisher provided me with a copy of the book through Book Sirens in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sapphire Beach Mysteries – Angela K. Ryan

I love reading books set in fictional towns near where I live. Angela K. Ryan’s Sapphire Beach mysteries are just that. Cozy mysteries set in Southwest Florida. I have been to many of the towns and cities mentioned in the books, which makes them even more interesting. I just finished the last book in the series and I am sad that it is over. There is a “spin-off” – the Seaside Ice Cream Shop Mysteries – which continues the story of Anna, the cousin of the main character in the Sapphire Beach Cozy Mysteries.

The main character is Connie. Other regular characters in the series are: Grace – Aunt Concetta’s best friend and employee at Connie’s jewelry store, Stephanie – Grace’s daughter, Elyse – the local realtor, Josh – Elyse’s husband and Sapphire Beach police officer, Zach – Josh’s friend, police officer, and eventually Connie’s love interest, Gertrude – a friend of Aunt Concetta’s and great aunt to Elyse, Abby – employee at Connie’s jewelry store, Ruby – a fellow Sapphire Beach shop owner, Gallagher – the owner of the restaurant across from Connie’s store… and more.

1. Condos and Corpses – Connie must find out who killed a man in Grace’s condo

2. Surf, Sand, and Skeletons – Connie gets to the bottom of what happened to the previous owner of her shop

3. Piers, Pliers, and Problems – A student in her first jewelry class is murdered with Connie’s pliers and she must figure out who did it.

4. Candy Canes and Cadavers – During her family’s visit to Sapphire Beach, she must find out who murdered a local theater actor.

5. Snowbirds and Suspects – When her friend, Ruby’s niece is accused of murder, she asks Connie to help clear her name.

6. Bridesmaids and Bodies – When the best man of one of her jewelry clients is murdered, Connie needs to find the killer so the wedding can go on.

7. Hurricanes and Homicides – While hunkered down during a hurricane, Connie finds the body of a fellow condo owner and must find the murderer among those sheltering in place.

8. Kayaks and Killers – When a kayak floats near shore with a body in it, Connie and friends investigate.

9. Friends, Foes, and Felonies – Connie’s former boss and mentor, Sam, is visiting for two weeks. When the head of a local non-profit is murdered, Connie and Sam investigate.

10. Passion and Poison – When a former tennis pro is murdered at Connie’s friend, Gallagher’s restaurant, he turns to Connie to help solve the murder.

11. Daffodils and Death – Connie’s visit to the botanical garden with her mother and sister turns into a murder investigation.

12. Marriage and Mischief – Connie and Zack are getting ready for their wedding. As friends and family gather, the wedding officiant, Fr. Paul goes missing. Will Connie be able to solve his disappearance in time to prevent a tragedy and a ruined wedding?

Give these light and refreshing mysteries a try.

Thanks for reading.

Review: Upgrade by Blake Crouch

This was my second Blake Crouch book. I read The Pines several years ago and thought it was a very well-written book. While I enjoy Mr. Crouch’s writing, I hadn’t read any of his other books until Upgrade caught my eye. I have never been a big Sci-Fi reader. I’ve dabbled in it (The Martian, The Pines, and Project Hail Mary) but it is not a genre I seek out. If Mr. Crouch continues writing Sci-Fi that draws me in, I may have to rethink that.

Upgrade tackles the science of genetic engineering. Set in the future, shortly after a miscalculated experiment caused millions to starve, the Gene Protection Agency (GPA) is a CIA-like entity that keeps track of and regulates scientists involved in the study of genes. Logan Ramsay, son of the scientist that caused the “great starvation” is a GPA agent hunting down rogue scientists.

When Logan investigates the location of a suspected gene editing operation that a suspect provided him, his life is changed forever. An explosion of a device causes shrapnel to puncture his hazmat suit and he becomes infected with a virus dispersed by the explosive device.
Once he recovers from his injuries and the virus which caused a high fever and crazy nightmares, Logan believes he is fine, until his body begins to change. He has better concentration, night vision, memory, increased muscle mass, and higher pain tolerance. He basically becomes superhuman. Now, Logan must find out who did this to him and why.

An action-packed pursuit begins, as Logan finds out who he can and can’t trust. His superhuman abilities as well as some of the characters he encounters make for a fast-paced, action-filled, sci-fi mystery.
Make sure you read the epilogue!

The book is scheduled to be released on July 12, 2022. You can pre-order it at your local independent bookstore, like Copperfish Books, at Amazon or your favorite bookstore.

Thanks for reading!

I was provided with an advance reader copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Good Left Undone – Adriana Trigiani

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani was published just as I was mentally preparing myself for the one-year anniversary of my mother’s passing.

My mother and I used to love talking about Adriana’s books.  As soon as we heard that one was coming out, we preordered it so we could get it on pub day.  When the book was out, we would read it and discuss it.  This was the first time I was not able to share the experience with my mother.  Though, I have to admit, I did “talk” to her about it in my head.

The Good Left Undone tells the story of Domenica Cabrielli and her family from 1920 through the present.  The story is told in flashbacks as Matelda Roffo is in the end stage of her life. 

Domenica is a headstrong young girl growing up in Viareggio, a city on the Tuscan Coast.  Her best friend Silvio is known in town as “il Bastardo” because he was born out of wedlock.  Even though it was not his fault, the townspeople treated him horribly.  When Silvio is injured by the town bully, Domenica discovers her vocation, nursing.  Due to the incident, Silvio’s mother decides that it is time to leave Viareggio and start a new life elsewhere.  On his last evening in Viareggio, Silvio finally shows his love for Domenica with a kiss.

Domenica’s work as a nurse brings her to Scotland, where she meets a sea captain and falls in love.

As World War II begins, the Italian immigrants face great distrust in their adopted country due to Mussolini’s actions. They are rounded up and sent away. Dominica’s sea captain husband is assigned to work on a ship on which the Italians are transported. What happens on this ship is based on the true story of the SS Arandora Star. Look it up. I had never heard of it.

This family story is full of happiness and tragedy and my Mom would have loved it.

I hope you will give it a try.

You can find the book at your local library, independent bookseller or at Amazon – The Good Left Undone.

Thanks for reading.

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocum

Ray McMillan loves playing classical music on his great-grandfather’s violin.  There have been many obstacles to his pursuit of a professional music career.  His mother thinks he is wasting his time and should get a “real job” at a local fast-food restaurant.  As a Black Classical musician, he has had to fight racism from the Classical music community as well as the Black community that thinks he shouldn’t be playing Classical music.

Ray is an exceptional violinist and has entered the Tchaikovsky Competition – the Olympics of Classical Music.  The evening before the competition his heirloom violin is stolen.  The violin, which was given to Ray’s great-grandfather by the man who owned his family, turns out to be a priceless Stradivarius.

As the pressure from the competition mounts, Ray is determined to get his violin back.  Unfortunately, some of his family members as well as the descendants of the slave owner are both claiming the violin belongs to them.  

Will Ray find the violin in time to play in the competition? Who stole the violin and why? To find out the answers to these questions, you will need to read The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocum.

The book releases on February 1, 2022.  You can pre-order it at Amazon or your local independent bookstore.

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGally in exchange for my honest review.

Thanks for reading.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Photo by Pixabay on

I have to admit that I picked up a copy of the Sanatorium based on the creepy cover alone. The building on the cover looked as it was described in the book, remote and ominous.

Detective Elin Warner is taking time off the job to celebrate the engagement of her estranged brother. He has been fixing up an old abandoned sanatorium in the Alps to create a luxury hotel. The sanatorium has a terrifying history, which adds to the dark atmosphere.

When her brother’s fiancé disappears, Elin thinks he had something to do with it. As a Winter storm moves in and strands them at the hotel and strange things begin to happen, the guests become more rattled.

The horrifying history of the sanatorium is explained and the surprising ending made this a decent read.

I believe this is the first book the author wrote with Elin as the main character. If you want a creepy but not too creepy book to read, try out The Sanatorium.

Pick up a copy of The Sanatorium on Amazon or at your local independent book store.

For more info about the author, visit her website at Sarah Pearse.

Thanks for reading.