A Hive of Secrets and Spells by Ellen Jane

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Four out of Five Stars

Except and Giveaway at the bottom!!

The Summary:

Cupcakes, romance, and lovable canines abound in Heather and Sinead’s next adventure, but it isn’t all fun and games. The girlfriends are investigating a very personal kidnapping, and the threatening notes left behind accuse Sinéad and her punk-rocker twin brother of hiding something.

But after solving their first mystery together last Christmas, this one should be a piece of cake.After all, no one’s been murdered this time, and their witch-sorcerer rivalry is a thing of the past.Except it turns out there is a murderer, and a jewel thief as well, and why on earth does everyone keep talking about bees?

It appears Starford is a lot more exciting than Heather’s home town of Old Wetchhaven, and Sinéad’s insistence that Heather move in with her brings a whiff of trouble to their private paradise. Can Heather adjust to life near the big city? Or will the mounting secrets prove too much and turn their second case into their last?

A Hive of Secrets and Spells is a witch cozy mystery with a sweet lesbian romance and heart-warming magic.

The Review

If you are a fan of cozy mysteries then  A Hive of Secrets and Spells, the second novel in the Cupcakes and Sorcery series by Ellen Jane, will be right up your alley.

Being in Starford with Sinéad was supposed to be a vacation for Heather. They are still getting to know each other’s quirks and enjoying the newness of their relationship when crime strikes again in the form of a jewel thief and a murderer. This should be easy after the case they handled last Christmas. Right? Toss Cian, Sinéad’s twin brother, into the mix and it couldn’t get anymore complicated for the pair.

What I loved about A Hive of Secrets and Spells is the fact that it is a cozy mystery! I honestly think this is the first cozy mystery I’ve read in the LGBTQ genre. Heather and Sinéad feel real. Heather battled with not being the stereotypical “U-Haul” lesbian throughout the novel. Sinéad very much marched to the beat of her own drum. I feel like they leveled each other out. Heather and Sinéad continued to develop and grow. We learned more about their past and how it influenced their actions now. It made me believe there would be a realistic future in the cards for them.

The secondary characters were phenomenal. It’s not often I can say that, but Cian? He was so unique, sassy, and one hundred percent himself. I can’t wait to read more about him. I could hear his voice in my head and he had me cracking up at certain points. The bees? Well they were very important and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but they were very much a character to keep an eye on.

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Check out the GIVEAWAY and EXCERPT below!!

Giveaway:

Win one of 2 packages with e-copies of Magic, Murder & Mistletoe, A Hive of Secrets and Spells & A Match Made at Christmas by Ellen Jane.

 

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Grasmere Cottage Mystery by Dahlia Donovan

Three out of Five Stars

The Summary: Join bestselling author Dahlia Donovan on a cosy mystery adventure in Grasmere Cottage Mystery book one. With love, wit, and a murder to solve, life for Valor and Bishan is about to get bloomin’ complicated in this sweet gay romance.

Dead body in the garden? Check.

Mystery to solve? Check.

Police focused on the wrong person? Not good.
All grown up and graduated, Valor Tarquin Scott, son to Earl and Countess Scott, owns The Ginger’s Bread, a biscuit shop, in Grasmere in the Lake District. The love of his life, Bishan Tamboli, has turned his music studies into a successful career playing with the London Symphony Orchestra. It’s a perfect life with their cat, spending evenings watching Poirot on the television.

The nightmare begins with one dead former schoolmate, leading police to believe Bishan is responsible.

Valor struggles to solve the cryptic puzzles left behind in a race to prove Bishan’s innocence.

He can’t help wondering how far the body count will rise before they manage to stop the killer.

The Review(s)

 

The Grasmere Cottage Mystery is three book series that you definitely need to get as a bundle. Otherwise you’re going to hate yourself and the cliffhangers at the end of Dead in the Garden (Book One) and Dead in the Pond (Book Two). I wouldn’t have been a happy camper if I didn’t have all the books in hand while I was reading them.

Dead in the Garden starts out with Valor and Bishan finding the corpse of a former classmate in the garden over morning tea. For some reason the police focus on Bishan as a suspect. Bishan, is Autistic, and very much not who the police should be looking at. It takes another murder and a coded note before Bishan and Valor are back together.

What was really interesting was the fact that we got a realistic Autistic character in this series. You got a couple of different point of views as well. In the first book, which is told from Valor’s point of view, you get to see how they interact as a couple. Valor cherishes the touches Bishan bestows upon him and he knows when it becomes too much.

Valor also comes from a very wealthy family that he’s been disowned from. Honestly, he’s a bigger part of Bishan’s family than he ever was of his own. The Tambolis are extremely supportive and caring. It’s the type of family you want to be a part of, even if they can be a little bit overwhelming at times.

Dead in the Pond, picks up right where Dead in the Garden stops. This book is told more from Bishan’s point of view, which I liked. You got a feel for his internal thoughts and how his mind works. It’s just a little bit different than the way out minds work. The killer ups his game. He starts targeting those close to Valor and Bishan.  They’re trying to figure out the puzzles left behind and who the killer is. This isn’t as easy as Poriot and Mrs. Marple makes it seem. There’s a bit of a subplot going on in this book in concern to Valor and his family. Why do they so desperately want him back in their lives?

The cliffhanger in this one is worse than in the first book. You’re left right in the middle of a situation wondering what the heck is going to happen.

In the conclusion, Dead in the Shop, relief settles over you because you know that Bishan and Valor are okay. That cliffhanger wasn’t nearly as bad as you originally thought it to be. Even though it made me so angry and this is precisely the reason you need all three books in hand when you start this series.

Now, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I kind of forgot there was a serieal killer running amuck. I was much more invested in Valor and Bishan and their friends interacting with each other than I was with the mystery aspect. And when I did find out who the killer was and why he was killing? Well It was an ‘eh, okay’ reaction and I was interested in the frogs vs. gnomes war that was happening.

Over all this was a cute, easy series to read. I really wanted more from it though. I needed a bit more about Valor’s family because it was so hyped up and then it fell a bit flat. And I didn’t much pay attention to the killer in the last book because it got a little boring. I absolutely adored Valor and Bishan though. They made my heart warm and left me feeling happy. Honestly I could have read about them without the mystery and been perfectly happy.

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All Things by Amber Belldene

All Things (A Reverend Alma Lee Mystery Book 1)

Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: A priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar…

If something is unjust in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Reverend Alma Lee will face it down. She leads her vibrant church of St. Giles’ with compassion and sass. Her busy days involve match-making, meddling, and saving the city’s beloved lesbian landmark, The Carlos Club. Alma meets the intriguing Rabbi Naomi Cohen there, and she’s smitten.

Death comes to the church’s door…

When the proprietor of The Carlos Club turns up dead on the steps of St. Giles’, Naomi’s brother is the number one suspect. She needs help exonerating him, and Alma’s knowledge of the neighborhood makes her the perfect priest to solve the case. If only Alma’s ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Cesar Garza will accept her help. She still feels the pull of their old connection, but she’s convinced the sexy-smart rabbi is her perfect mate. . . Too bad Naomi is playing by different rules.

Can Alma solve the case before the murderer silences her forever?

The Review

I have to admit, the tagline is what initially grabbed my attention. “A priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar…” Like, what? Rewind that and let me hear that again. Yes, that did say a priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar. I’m a fan of cozy mysteries, and having a splash of a LGBTQ friendly priest piqued my interest. I needed know if if Alma was going to turn out life Father Brown (I binged the show on Netflix and find Father Brown and his clique particularly invigorating).

Alma is her own brand of priest. She’s bisexual, nosy, vegan, honest and has a crush on a lady rabbi.The story opens up at the closing of a local lesbian bar called The Carlos Club that hadn’t evolved with the community and the owner wasn’t business savvy.  Once the owner turns up dead (what’s sad is I can’t remember her name) on the church doorstep, Alma has to act. Her friend has been murdered and crawled to her church as she died.

The police focus in on the new property owner, the brother to Naomi, the rabbi that Alma is crushing on. And here comes the drama. The cop in charge? Alma’s ex-boyfriend Cesar Garza. It’s obvious he hasn’t gotten over Alma and harbors some hard feelings for her. He wants her to stay out of the investigation and safe. Someone had attempted to poison her, and that should be enough to keep her away. But it’s not.

She can’t Naomi’s brother take the fall. Not when he’s innocent. So she figures out how to use her community knowledge to find the evidence she needs to find the real killer. What was really neat about this was I was debating between two people being the murderer but I was wrong. I liked that I was wrong because most of these cozy mysteries I have it figured out pretty quickly.

The romance aspect of this was not a major plot point in this. Anything other than a kiss between Alma and Naomi ended up in a fade to black type of scene. It was fitting for the type of novel this was. There’s still a part of me that really wanted more though. Like let the Reverend get some hot lady love and don’t let her go back to Cesar like what was hinted at. Keep Reverend Alma with the ladies!

I’ll totally read more in this series though. I liked her sassy self.

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