DEATH IN A BUDAPEST BUTTERFLY by Julia Buckley {Review}


Series: A Hungarian Tea House Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★


Hana Keller serves up European-style cakes and teas in her family-owned tea house, but when a customer keels over from a poisoned cuppa, Hana and her tea-leaf reading grandmother will have to help catch a killer in the first Hungarian Tea House Mystery from Julia Buckley.

Hana Keller and her family run Maggie’s Tea House, an establishment heavily influenced by the family’s Hungarian heritage and specializing in a European-style traditional tea service. But one of the shop’s largest draws is Hana’s eccentric grandmother, Juliana, renowned for her ability to read the future in the leaves at the bottom of customers’ cups. Lately, however, her readings have become alarmingly ominous and seemingly related to old Hungarian legends…

When a guest is poisoned at a tea event, Juliana’s dire predictions appear to have come true. Things are brought to a boil when Hana’s beloved Anna Weatherley butterfly teacup becomes the center of the murder investigation as it carried the poisoned tea. The cup is claimed as evidence by a handsome police detective, and the pretty Tea House is suddenly endangered. Hana and her family must catch the killer to save their business and bring the beautiful Budapest Butterfly back home where it belongs.


Vasorrú Bába!

Hungarian folklore, European high tea, and just a touch of the paranormal come together to make DEATH IN A BUDAPEST BUTTERFLY a delightful start to a new cozy mystery series!

Three generations of the Horvath/Keller family run Maggie’s Tea House in suburban Chicago. Hana, her mother Maggie, and grandmother Juliana are shaken when a guest is poisoned to death at one of their events. With a murderer on the loose and their business in danger, Hana is willing to help Detective Erik Wolf with his investigation and do a bit of sleuthing on her own.

The Hungarian history, culture, and myths blended throughout this book made for an enjoyable and unique cozy mystery. I also loved the budding romance between Hana and Erik. Looking forward to seeing what happens next!

P.S. How amazing is that book cover!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

THE BOOK SUPREMACY by Kate Carlisle {Review}


Series: Bibliophile Mystery, #13
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


In the latest in this New York Times bestselling series, San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright investigates a mysterious spy novel linked to a string of murders…

Newlyweds Brooklyn and Derek are enjoying the final days of their honeymoon in Paris. As they’re browsing the book stalls along the Seine, Brooklyn finds the perfect gift for Derek, a first edition James Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me. When they bump into Ned, an old friend from Derek’s spy days, Brooklyn shows him her latest treasure.

Once they’re back home in San Francisco, they visit a spy shop Ned mentioned. The owner begs them to let him display the book Brooklyn found in Paris as part of the shop’s first anniversary celebration. Before they agree, Derek makes sure the security is up to snuff—turns out, the unassuming book is worth a great deal more than sentimental value.

Soon after, Derek is dismayed when he receives a mysterious letter from Paris announcing Ned’s death. Then late one night, someone is killed inside the spy shop. Are the murders connected to Brooklyn’s rare, pricey book? Is there something even more sinister afoot? Brooklyn and the spy who loves her will have to delve into the darkest parts of Derek’s past to unmask an enemy who’s been waiting for the chance to destroy everything they hold dear.


THE BOOK SUPREMACY is book number thirteen in the Bibliophile Mystery series. This is a series I’ve wanted to read for a long time (I love book-themed cozies), so I decided to jump in with this latest installment.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a San Francisco-based book restorer, and she and new husband Derek are just starting married life after a romantic Paris honeymoon. Little did she know that a rare copy of The Spy Who Loved Me from a Paris street vendor would pull her into the world of international espionage.

I enjoyed the mystery in this book very much. It was interesting and multi-layered with a cast of intriguing characters. What began as a murder in a San Francisco spy shop turned out to be so much more. It did take some time for the action to get going, but once it did it was an exciting ride. Looking forward to catching up with Brooklyn & Derek’s backstory in the previous books!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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MURDERS AND METAPHORS by Amanda Flower {Review}


Series: A Magical Bookshop Mystery, #3
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


Niagara region booksellers Violet Waverly and Grandma Daisy sleuth the slaying of a sommelier whose book signing turned into her sayonara.

January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.

Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.

Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case in Murders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.


I’m thrilled that the Magical Bookshop Mysteries found a new home at Crooked Lane Books, because it’s one of my favorite cozy mystery series. With a little magic, a little romance, and a quaint bookstore setting, I was hooked.

How many bookshops have an enchanted tree growing right in the middle of the store? This ancient tree provides the store’s magic that helps Violet solve mysteries with messages through its books. This time around it’s Little Women that Charming Books wants Violet to focus on. Her good friend Lacey is in hot water after Lacey’s estranged sister is found murdered in a local vineyard. What clues are hidden in the passages of the classic novel that will point Violet to the killer?

I enjoyed this third installment in the series. It was fun to be back among the interesting characters of Cascade Springs. The murder mystery was solid and not easy to figure out. I liked learning more about Lacey and her family, and also learning about ice-wine! Before reading this book, I had no idea frozen grapes could be harvested and turned into a sweet dessert wine. Looking forward to the next in the series!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thoughts on Books (#17): The Raven’s Tale / The Hunting Party / Murder on Cape Cod


The Raven's Tale
The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters
My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

THE RAVEN’S TALE is a fictionalized account of 17-year old Edgar Allan Poe and his turbulent relationship with Lenore, his muse. In this world, muses are real, physical beings, and they’re considered corrupt and dangerous by polite society. Lenore comes to Edgar at a particularly vulnerable time in his life, at odds with his foster father and leaving for university. Edgar’s passion for poetry and dreams of making a living as a writer are in sharp contrast to the wishes of his practical and cruel foster father. Will Lenore save Edgar’s creative spark, or will she be snuffed out forever(more)?

I enjoyed that this book imagined what a teenage Poe would have been like, and how his “muse” buried the seeds in his mind for many of his greatest works. The plot struggled in parts, moving slowly especially during his time at university, though the writing was lovely and atmospheric. I was also hoping for more explanation of what the muses actually were. Living spirits, maybe? As a fan of Poe, there was much to appreciate in this well-researched novel. Borrowed from the library.


The Hunting Party
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A group of friends meet at a remote lodge in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate New Year’s Eve. One of them ends up dead, and another is the murderer. But who’s dead, and whodunit? The story flips back and forth between characters and before and after the murder, until the truth is slowly revealed.

I loved the premise of this book, however I struggled to stay engaged. There were many POVs presented, and their voices were so similar it was hard to keep track. The whole group of them gave off a snobby, shallow vibe, so it was hard to care what happened to them. Their drama dragged on too long. I suppose my two favorite characters were the lodge employees, Heather and Doug. They were easier to sympathize with.

While not for me, THE HUNTING PARTY has gotten a lot of great buzz. Please check out the other reviews! Borrowed from the library.


Murder on Cape Cod (Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #1)
Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Westham, Massachusetts, is a delightful tourist town on Cape Cod, and home to bike shop owner Macenzie “Mac” Almeida. After book club one foggy evening, Mac stumbles across a dead body very near her home. Unfortunately evidence found at the scene makes her brother a prime suspect. The pressure is on Mac to clear her brother’s name without interfering in the official investigation.

I enjoyed this first book in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery. The Cape Cod setting was lovely, and the wonderful descriptions made me want to visit. Mac was a relatable, no nonsense protagonist, and I loved that she lived in a cozy tiny home! The murder mystery was not an easy one to figure out. Mac’s book group didn’t play a big role in solving the murder, but I felt like we got a solid introduction to all the members. I’m looking forward to the next Cozy Capers mystery! Purchased from Barnes & Noble.


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NO ESCAPE CLAWS by Sofie Ryan {Review}


Series: A Second Chance Cat Mystery, #6
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★¾


Sarah Grayson and her feline ally Elvis get a chance to see if their sleuthing skills are up to scratch in the sixth installment of the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat Mysteries.

It’s fall in North Harbor, Maine, where Sarah owns a charming secondhand shop. A cold case heats up when Mallory Pearson appears at Sarah’s doorstep. Mallory’s father is in prison for negligence after her stepmother’s mysterious death in a house fire, but Mallory believes he’s innocent and asks the quirky team of senior citizen detectives who work out of Sarah’s shop to take on the case. With Sarah and Elvis lending a paw, they decide to try to give Mallory’s father a second chance of his own…


NO ESCAPE CLAWS is book six in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series (I’ve also read the first). Main character Sarah Grayson runs a lovely secondhand shop in North Harbor, Maine, along with a quirky group of her grandmother’s friends (known as the Angels). I could spend hours in her store.

The Angels are part-time detectives as well, and with Sarah’s help they solve local mysteries. Their latest case comes at the request of young Mallory Pearson, who wants them to prove her father is innocent of negligence in the death of her stepmother. Prison is a nightmare for him, but for some reason he doesn’t want help getting out. The mystery surrounding the suspicious death was a puzzler, and Sarah & the gang were smart about their investigation. I enjoyed tagging along!

My one quibble with the book was the large number of characters. Too many to keep straight at times, which made reading frustrating. Not only were there many speaking characters, but there were lots of “off screen” folks they talked about. Maybe it’s because I’ve missed many of the previous books?

Overall I enjoyed this cozy, and it made me want to catch up with the rest of the series!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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