Hawgs, Dogs, and Murder (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #4) by Summer Prescott

Hawgs, Dogs, and Murder (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #4) by Summer Prescott

Rossalyn Channing’s new restaurant, Hawg Heaven, is getting more and more popular in the small town of Chatsworth, Illinois. She and her 13 year old son, Ryan, are doing better than she expected in the short time they’ve lived there. There has been some ups and downs, of course, and most of the downs have been murders.

Ruth Venkman, an accountant and one of Rossalyn’s new friends, offered to look over Rossalyn’s taxes for a small fee. When she took her taxes to the accountant’s office she saw that everyone who worked there was very upset. Ruth explained that one of the accountants, Deedee, started to feel a little ill, went to the ladies room and died there. Deedee was well liked in the office. She always baked brownies and cakes for her co-workers.

Upon investigation it was determined that Dedee was poisoned! But who would poison the woman and why?

Ruth was very concerned and frightened because she thought that the poison was meant for her and not Deedee. Some strange things were going on in Ruth’s life and she was living in fear. One day Ruth poured herself some scotch at her home. It tasted a little odd to her so she spit it right out. Her husband, Russell, sniffed it and said it smelled fine to him. A few minutes later she became sick to her stomach and spent the rest of the night in the bathroom but when day broke she felt better. Ruth put up some water to boil in her kettle for tea but the steam smelled bad to her too. Ruth felt like someone was trying to kill her but she doubted if it was her husband, Russell, but if not Russell then who and why?

Officer Morgan Tyler was investigating Deedee’s death trying to figure out if Ruth’s problems had anything to do with Deedee’s death. He had no idea of the kettle of fish that would soon be opened.

Hawgs, Dogs, and Murder” by Summer Prescott, is the 4th book in her Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery Series.

Once again fans of this cute series will see how Rossalyn and Ryan’s life is progressing in Chatsworth. In this book Rossalyn seems to have yet another stalker and wanting to make sure that son Ryan stays safe she asks her neighbor, Tom Hundman, a motorcycle biker and a veteran, to keep an eye on the boy. It’s a good thing that Tom likes Ryan because he’s a little angry at Rossalyn for something that she did to him a month or so back. She did apologize to Tom but he’s still upset with her.

Making matters more complicated is that Officer Morgan Tyler is interested in Rossalyn but Rossalyn is having some strange feelings towards her neighbor Tom Hundman. And there is that little matter with the stalker.

Once again, Ms. Prescott has give cozy-lovers a good mystery set in small town America. It’s easy and fun to read with lots of talk about food. “Hawgs, Dogs, and Murder” is the perfect short novel for cozy/mystery enthusiasts.

 

To see other reviews of Summer Prescott’s books please see her page on my blog.

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Nacho Usual Murder (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #3) by Summer Prescott

Nacho Usual Murder (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #3) by Summer Prescott

Rossalyn Channing’s restaurant, Hawg Heaven, is very popular in the small town of Chatsworth, Illinois. She and her 13 year old son, Ryan, are beginning to make friends in this new town and the community is starting to accept them. The only problem is that since Rossalyn and Ryan moved there lots of problems started to crop up. So far there were two murders and Sheriff Buckley Willis blames Rossalyn for every problem.

Now another problem has arisen. Rossalyn is being stalked by someone. One day, before her restaurant opened, a stranger asked if he could sit and wait for the eatery to open. Ordinarily Rossalyn wouldn’t allow this but she told her staff, Jose and Garrett, that the man was being seated. The stranger seemed a little weird to Rossalyn and things got stranger when that night he was back at the restaurant asking if she would go out with him. She refused but the situation made her very suspicious.

Soon she started to receive flowers from someone and the notes attached did not have name but what they said seemed a little threatening. Rossalyn did discovered that it was the stalker who was sending her the flowers.

Then  another person was killed in Chatsworth and the murder victim was Jesse Nickerson who was living at the boarding house and was also the man stalking Rossalyn.

Making matters even worse was that Rossalyn became the prime suspect of the murder. Even the boarding house owner, Eliza Bouchard, who was not a fan of Rosalyn, thought that Rossalyn was the killer.

Now, with the help of her neighbor, Tom Hundman, a biker and a veteran, Rossalyn has to find the real murderer to clear her name and to make sure that her son Ryan remains safe in town.

Nacho Usual Murder” is the third in author Summer Prescott’s  Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery Series. Once again, Ms. Prescott gives readers a non violent cute cozy filled with friends and food. The murder/stalker plotline was interesting and the ending was a good surprise. I didn’t see it coming at all.

The Hawg Heaven mysteries are fun to read, fairly short, and can easily be read in one day and they are all very satisfying. Take a visit to Chatsworth, Illinois and sample Rossalyn’s fine foods and meet her friends. You won’t be sorry.

To see other reviews of Summer Prescott’s books please see Summer’s page on my blog.

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Baby Back Murder (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #2) by Summer Prescott

Baby Back Murder (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #2) by Summer Prescott

When Rossalyn Channing moved to the small town of Chatsworth, Illinois to open her restaurant, Hawg Heaven, she thought her life and the life of her son, Ryan, would be peaceful and uncomplicated. Even though they made some good friends and the restaurant is doing brilliantly things have been a bit complicated. A young woman was murdered just as she opened the restaurant and now a short time later a second murder has occured. Rossalyn has only been in town a few months and murder is complicated especially when the sheriff of the town, Buckley Willis, thinks you are the murderer.

A day or so before the murder a television crew from a popular television show, Treasure Hunt USA, came into the restaurant for breakfast. They asked Rossalyn if she knew of any place in town where they might find some old antiques and collectables to feature on the show. Rossalyn told them to speak to Franz Hellman who had some barns on his property that were filled with antiques.

A cameraman went to the Hellman property before the rest of the crew to take an early look at what the television program might be interested in. It was in one of the barns where he was stabbed to death. But why would anyone want to kill a stranger to the town and who would do it?

Sheriff Willis thinks that Rossalyn is the murderer because she told the television crew about the barns but the sheriff never did care for Rossalyn and blames her for everything bad that happens in Chatsworth.

The thing is, the real murderer is running loose and there are quite a few suspects including a man who was living on the Hellman property doing handyman work for Mr. Hellman; the sole woman on the television crew, Stella Castle, who was in love with the cameraman but was heard arguing with the man before his death; a newly hired employee of Rossalyn’s, Garrett Marshall, who was recently released from jail; and Rossalyn’s next door neighbor, Tom Hundman, an ex military man who rides a motorcycle around town and is very big and intimidating.

As Rossalyn tries to figure things out someone causes some severe damage to her restaurant making her think she is close to finding out who the murderer is but it also frightens her when she thinks that harm might come to her son, Ryan.

“Baby Back Murder” is the second in the Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery Series by author Summer Prescott. Just like the first book this novel is fun, filled with good characters, and has a good murder mystery. Most of the regular characters returns to help Rossalyn solve the murder and help her out in every way possible. They’re also there to help eat all the comfort foods she serves in Hawg Heaven.

Easy to read and very faced-paced, every cozy-lover, mystery reader will enjoy visiting Chatsworth, Illinois and sampling the food and friendship that is served up daily in this nice cozy series.

To see other reviews of Summer Prescott’s books please see Summer’s page on my blog.

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Patriot’s Passing (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #1) by Summer Prescott

Patriot’s Passing (Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery #1) by Summer Prescott

When Rossalyn Channing’s husband is killed in Afghanistan she and her son, Ryan, leave the army base where they were living and initially thought she would move in with her parents until she got her life back together. But on their way to her parent’s home they stop off in a small town where Rosslyn sees an old store up for sale. She’s intrigued by it. Obviously the store had been empty and for sale for years but Rossalyn feels positive that she can make something out of it, like a restaurant.

Rossalyn, her son, and parents discuss her new venture and they all agree that she should go for it.

Rossalyn and Ryan move to the small town and with the help and support of her parents and the insurance money she received from her husband’s death, her new restaurant, Hawg Heaven, is opened. The restaurant features comfort food based on ham, bacon, pulled-pork, and all foods that make people feel good.

Rossalyn finds a great cook, Jose, who perfectly cooks the food. Needless to say Hawg Heaven is an immediate success. The whole town loves the new restaurant and Rossalyn and Ryan, except for the sheriff and his trouble-making family.

When a young mother is murdered and her body is found in the field behind Rossalyn’s restaurant her small staff seem to be the prime suspects by the sheriff.

With the help of a new motorcyclist friend, who is also a murder suspect, and a police officer from a nearby town, Rossalyn tries to find out who the killer is before any of her staff or her friend is arrested. She also needs to make sure that she and her son are safe from the strange going ons in this small town.

“Patriot’s Passing” is the first in author Summer Prescott’s Hawg Heaven Cozy Culinary Mystery series and it’s a wonderful novel. No, no bacon or pork-pull recipes here but there is lots of food talk, enough to get anyone hungry.

Ms. Prescott introduces a wonderful cast of characters who are interesting, dangerous, friendly, funny, loving, and people who anyone can identify with. Some  are presented as being intimidating but end up as being nothing more than a scary teddy bear while some of the “good guys” aren’t so good.

The description of this small town life was very inviting to me. I’d like to open a store there myself and have the new kind of life that Rossalyn and Ryan are living.

Even though there are a little over 300 pages in the book I was able to read it over night. The plot compelled me to keep reading “just one more chapter” until I found myself at the end.

The story is not fully closed at the end which makes me want to read the next in the series just to find out what happens next.

“Patriot’s Passing” is an intelligent cozy that all cozy lovers should read. Ms Prescott wrote a nice book that’s good for all readers. No bloody, violent scenes just a good murder plotline with lots of food talk.

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The Weight of Memories by Liu Cixin

The Weight of Memories by Liu Cixin

What would you do if you knew from as early as being a fetus what life was all about? You have no tangible evidence for what happens except for the memories from your mother which is fed to you as a fetus as you get ready to be born? Is it good to know what to expect or is it better to learn about life as you live it? A good question asked by author Liu Cixin with a well thought out answer.

A very interesting short story.

For other reviews of books by Liu Cixin please go to his page on my blog.

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Dead South: A Lowcountry Seaside Mystery (Lowcountry Mystery Series Book 1) by David Banner

Dead South: A Lowcountry Seaside Mystery (Lowcountry Mystery Series Book 1) by David Banner

Detective Ryan Devereux has lived in the deep south of South Carolina his whole life. His mother did her best to bring him up right and even though it looked like he was going in the wrong direction during his early years his uncle helped him get his act together and as an adult Ryan became a police detective in the Charleston County Police Department. Now he works in the cold case department of the force trying to solve murders that happened years earlier.

Ryan is called out to Waverly Plantation where skeletal remains were found in the marsh. When Ryan gets there he sees that the skeleton is of his very first girlfriend, Haley King, who went missing 20 years earlier. He recognized her because the skeleton had on the prom dress Ryan bought for her. On the night she disappeared she was supposed to be going to the prom with Ryan but she canceled hours before the dance.

Complicating matter is Ryan’s ex wife, Jillian, who is engaged to marry another man, Thomas Kent. Ryan and Jillian have a ten year old daughter together, Carly, and Ryan does his best to spend as much time with her as possible.

The investigation into Haley’s death soon takes a major twist. It appears that Jillian’s fiance, Thomas, knew Haley and might somehow be involved in her murder. Ryan is very concerned about his ex wife and daughter’s lives since Thomas is living with them. Ryan is almost afraid of what he’ll discover during his investigation and wonders how to keep his daughter safe.

Dead South” is the first in the Lowcountry Seaside Mystery Series by David Banner. It’s really quite good. Mr. Banner’s writing style is very natural and his description of the lowcountry makes it sound like a magical place. The book reminds me a lot of James’ Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series.

The story is excellent and the novel is a page turner and I did enjoy the twist in the plots. My major concern is that the book needs a good editing job. Sometimes the author tells us that Jillian and Thomas are married and other times we hear that they’re engaged. A name of a play was given and instead of it being in initial caps or italicised the name is in lower case. Ryan was supposed to meet his uncle for breakfast but when they left the sun was going down. Ordinarily, I try not to let these things get to me but there were way too many editorial problems for me to just swallow.

This new series has a chance to go far if Mr.s Banner can get a good editor to help him out. Even with this I’m giving “Dead South” a high rating because of its amazing plotline. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series and seeing what life holds for Ryan and the rest of the characters.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily reviewed it and my opinions are my own.”

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Strawberry Frosted & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 39 by Susan Gillard

Strawberry Frosted & Murder: An Oceanside Cozy Mystery – Book 39 by Susan Gillard

All of Heather Shepherd’s baking assistants were having a bad day. One just broke up with her boyfriend, another assistant’s boyfriend had to work late all the time, another had a dental problem, and another didn’t get the part in a play he wanted to be in. It was hard getting them to focus on Heather’s newest donut, Strawberry Frosted.

The day not get any better when Heather’s friend, Josh, had problems finding an assistant for his son to be opened new restaurant. Amy Given’s, Heather’s best friend, still believes that the building the restaurant is going to be in is cursed because people were previously found murdered in it.

Finally, Josh found the perfect chef’s assistant, Kenneth Cooke, who had some great recipes and was eager to start working. Josh was thrilled that Kenneth was going to start early the next day.

That next morning,, as Josh was speaking to Kenneth on the phone the conversation suddenly stopped. It sounded like someone hit Kenneth with a watermelon. Josh asked Heather and Amy to please find his new assistant and see if he was okay.

The two friends soon found the man laying on the beach. Someone hit him over the head with a rock and killed him. Kenneth was new to Key West and no one knew him  so who would want to kill him and for what reason?

The police thought that Josh murdered Kenneth in a rage since Josh does have some anger issues. Is Josh going to be a murder suspect for the second time since he moved to Florida?

But the police found something interesting about Kenneth Cooke. That wasn’t his real name. He was really Ben Ouster from upstate New York.

Ben had owned a restaurant there but got into some trouble. One man was poisoned by eating the food in Ben’s restaurant and died. Several other diners were put in the hospital. Ben did not have to go to jail but he soon left the community and changed his name. But did one of the diners or a family member of the dead man find Ben in Key West and kill the chef in revenge? Heather and Amy, with some help with the police, will find out what really happened to Kenneth/Ben.

“Strawberry Frosted & Murder” is the 39th in author Susan Gillard’s  Oceanside Cozy Mystery Series. The plot is different with twists and turns. All the regular characters are around making this yet another good mystery in this delightful series.

“I received an ARC of this book prior to publication and I voluntarily review it and my opinions are my own.”

To see other reviews of Susan Gillard’s books please go to Susan’s page on my blog.

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