The Cookbook Club by Beth Harbison

The Cookbook Club chronicles the evolution of three women who accidently meet as they are all braving different heartbreaks in their lives. They not only grow stronger but they become each other’s champions and emerge with strength, resilience and lasting friendships.

It all started when Trista Walker put an ad on instagram looking for people to come to her house and try cookbook recipes. The only catch was they must come with a cooked dish from a cookbook. Two women joined Trista that first night.

Margo, whose husband recently came home and after complaining about her cooking told Margo he was taking a job in San Francisco but without her. He wanted a divorce. Although she was not totally heartbroken that he had left her, Margo became depressed at the thought that she had wasted so many years of her life catering to a man who could not appreciate her. Plus the fact she had no idea what to do next in life as her world had revolved around him for so many years. Her one claim to fame was a cooking class on YouTube she had started to help her parents and their friends who all lived in a senior housing complex cook healthier meals. She had 35 subscribers. And her soon to be ex-husband had dropped a dilapidated farmhouse on her as part of their divorce settlement. She now needed to find someone to help fix the rundown eyesore up. Margo goes to the first Cookbook club meeting more for companionship than anything else.

Aja Alexander is self sufficient and able to take care of herself. Although young, she maintains a few jobs in order to keep her independence. She is in a relationship with a man named Michael who is from old money. Not quite sure how to categorize their relationship, as they have been dating for a while and she has yet to met his mother, whom Michael has told her is very overbearing. She sometimes feels as if she is walking on eggshells around him, always afraid she will say something wrong to anger him. Aja goes to the first Cookbook club meeting because lately she has been starving and this group sounds like a great place to eat.

Trista Walker worked at a prestigious law firm. Until she didn’t. Not sure what she wanted to do with her life next, when a bar she frequented for years goes up for sale, she decides to buy it and create a different type of restaurant. With so many ideas on the type of food she wants to create, she decides she wants people to taste her creations and give honest opinions. Thus the Cookbook club. What Trista does not realize is that it takes more than cooking ideas start a restaurant. It takes a great deal of money and loyal employees. Hopefully her dream will not be popped before the restaurant ever opens. The first Cookbook club meeting is at Trista’s house.

As each of their lives begin to unfold and change they not only lean on each other for assistance, but others, some who were in their pasts, some who will be in their futures forever, and some who just happen to come into a bar one night for a drink. But the Cookbook club women know one thing. No matter what, they will always be friends.

Their stories are not very similar, but have many things in common. The love they have for others, and each other, the strength they have to make difficult decisions, and of course the delicious food of their Cookbook club.

Truth, Lies, And Second Dates by MaryJanice Davidson

Captain Ava Capp, pilot extraordinaire, is known for her witty comebacks, an enjoyable no strings attached love life and oh, saving the lives of all on a plane which she was not even piloting when the actual pilot became incapacitated. She enjoys her life and enjoys her job.

But Captain Ava was not always that confident. Ten years ago her best friend Danielle was savagely murdered just after Ava had left her to continue on with her day. Rocked by guilt, the murder took its toll on her and she ended up in a rehab and never looked back.

Now on the tenth anniversary of Danielle’s death a memorial is being held in their hometown in Minnesota, a memorial which she does not jump at the chance to go. But David, Danielle’s twin brother pleads with her and she agrees. After finding the memorial service trashed on day two, yes there was a day two, nobody can quite understand why anybody would want to wreck a memorial.

And believe it or not, this is when the story gets even funnier! Ava meets medical examiner Dr. Tom Baker, who turns out to be her match in more ways than one. He as been following the murder of Danielle for quite a while and has come to Minneapolis to solve the case. Even Ava is on his list of suspects and some other unmentionable rosters. And Dr. Baker comes with his crazy, a young niece who is a snarky genius and her grandfather. He also comes with some other baggage the reader should find out about by reading the story!

As they begin their investigation Ava begins to have some health issues and Dr. Baker feels these are not just health issues, but someone causing Ave to become ill. And then when she is suddenly sidelined from flying, it becomes all too obvious someone is trying to kill or sabotage her. But why? Do they think she knows something about Danielle’s death, or perhaps maybe it is something more sinister. Maybe she was the intended target that day years ago and not Danielle. If so, what could she have possibly done to cause someone to hate her so much?

The closer Ava and Tom get to each other and to the truth about what really happened back then, the more comedy ensues! The witty dialogue reads like a Gilmore Girl’s episode and funny scenes throughout the story make for quite the enjoyable romp, (pun intended). And remember this is a mystery!

Truth, Lies, And Second Dates is a fantastically funny mystery with wit, humor and charm. Quirky characters and a satisfying ending round off this lighthearted puzzler . I hope we have not seen the last of Ava and Tom!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #MaryJaniceDavidson #Truth,Lies,AndSecondDates for the advanced copy.

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

In the follow-up to the bestseller The Magpie Murders, we find Susan Ryeland, publishing editor extraordinaire, living in Greece with her boyfriend Andreas and running a hotel. After almost being killed while solving the Magpie Murders, Susan wanted to get away from London and live somewhere she could relax and unwind. But with their hotel barely making any money and stress creeping back into her life, she begins to long for her former life.

When a couple arrive at the hotel looking for her specifically to ask for her help locating their missing daughter, Cecily, back in London, Susan at first hesitates. But they too are hotel owners, and although she has no history with them, the mystery of their missing daughter may have something to do with her past client, the infamous Alan Conway, writer and creator of the detective Atticus Pund mysteries. Oh, and they agree to pay her a fortune for her time! With Susan missing London, she agrees.

The couple is unsure if their daughter’s disappearance has anything to do with a murder at their hotel years ago. A man named Frank Parris was brutally murdered on the day of their daughter’s wedding. And although one of their employees confessed to the murder at the time, Cecily disappeared the day after calling them and telling them that after reading Conway’s novel, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake, she believed the wrong person was charged with the murder.

Susan discovers that after the Parris murder, Conway had gone to stay at the hotel while he began writing his new book. He seemed curious about the murder and began asking questions. Although he promised not to use any of the information he was given, or use anyone from the hotel as characters in his novel, when the book came out, they realized they had been duped and he had not kept his word.

Susan realizes that she had edited the infamous book now in question, and with Conway gone, she must begin the interview process from the past murder all over. Is it possible that this long ago murder could have anything to do with Cecily’s disappearance? And what did she read that would have lead her to draw the conclusion that the wrong person has been jailed this whole time?

She decides she needs to reread the book not only to refresh her memory, but to see if she can find any clues as to if Conway knew the real killer of Frank Parris. If he did know, why did he not tell anyone at the time? So within the the novel Moonflower Murders, we all get to read, along with Susan, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake. She begins to realize Conway really did know who the killer was and perhaps there really were clues to this mystery within the story. What did Cecily read?

As she begins to sort out the clues between the book and the information she receives from all the interviews, it seems someone begins to feel she is getting too close to the truth. Now in danger, Susan must expediently solve this mystery. But with so many suspects, will she be able to find the real murderer before she becomes one of their victims?

Moonflower Murders is as brilliant as The Magpie Murders. There are clues everywhere, and you may find yourself going back to the book within the novel to see if you can find them. The ending, which fits all the pieces of the puzzle together is masterful. There is only one word to describe this novel…genius!

The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel Ryan

The Woman Outside My Door is Rachel Ryan’s first novel. It is a chilling story with ghostly undertones which creates a uniquely suspenseful story and will keep you guessing as to the outcome with many twists and turns in between.

Georgina, who has recently lost her mother is trying to create a bit of new normalcy in her life. She, along with her husband Bren and young son Cody, and with her widowed father are all trying to pick up the pieces to their lives. On top of this Georgina and Bren had been having problems just as her mother began her downfall. Now, they must begin to sort out their relationship as well as help their son heal from losing his grandmother.

So when Cody comes home after playing with some friends with candy and tells Georgina his New Granny gave it to him, she is beside herself. Bren feels this is Cody’s way of processing his grandmother’s death, by pretending she is still here. But as Cody begins talking to his New Granny on the phone, when the phone has not rung, Georgina feels he’s taken this imaginary friend to a new level.

Then Georgina begins to see and hear things. She believes someone has followed her home. She sees someone staring at her through their window looking into their house. Her husband feels she perhaps should go and see someone, as Cody tries to convince them that he no longer sees New Granny. But Georgiana knows deep in heart New Granny is not imaginary. She is real. Who could she possibly be? What does she want with her family?

She feels she needs to protect her family. But from who or what she is unsure. As her life begins to spin out of control, she believes perhaps she does need some help. And as the situation goes from disturbing to deranged, Georgina realizes she is in the fight of her life to save her family.

Although The Woman Outside My Door is Ryan’s first novel, with the fascinating and gripping plot, surprising moments and compelling ending, I am quite sure it will not be her last.

Thank you #GoodReads #GalleryBooks #TheWomanOutsideMyDoor #RachelRyan for the advanced copy.

Ink and Shadows (A Secret, Book and Scone Society Novel) by Ellery Adams

Nora Pennington, our beloved local Miracle Springs bookstore owner seems to have settled down quite nicely into her new town. Her store, with help from her new employee an older gentleman named Sheldon, is doing a brisk business. Her relationship with Jed seems to be going well and her friends in the Secret, Book and Scone Society are…well, as Sheldon says “the magical women of this town.”

But none of that will last very long.

With Halloween fast approaching, Nora and Sheldon must decide what type of outdoor window display they want to create. Usually the town appreciates the creative displays, but this year one of the mother’s from an organization has decided the display is unacceptable. Her group decides to cause quite a scene in the town by boycotting the bookstore as well as other shops she feels are inappropriate. With ads placed in the newspaper, picketers outside and vandalism, the stores begin to suffer.

One of these businesses is a new shop named Soothe which sells CBD oils and other products, along with many healing herbs. The new shopkeeper Celeste and her teenage daughter Bren have just moved to Miracle Springs. Celeste is hoping to start a new life for them both while Bren unfortunately is only angered by the move and seems to resent her mother.

When Bren dies suddenly on Nora’s property and she finds pages with symbols on them which seem to have been torn out of a very old book left under her doormat, she begins to think this is may not be the accidental death the coroner has claimed.

So as they do, the Secret, Book and Scone Society jumps into action by assisting Celeste in her shop as she grieves for her daughter. But when Nora finds a threatening postcard addressed to Celeste, she realizes Celeste must be hiding secrets from her previous life with Bren from their former town.

As for those pages with symbols, Nora knows someone who could decipher them. But that would mean calling a person from her own past, a past she would rather not revisit, and friends she has had no contact with since she fled her own former life. But Nora feels responsible in some way for Bren’s death and must make peace with the idea of exposing her new present to someone from her past. What could these pages possibly mean? Where is the book they were torn out of? And how do they connect to Celeste and Bren?

In Ink and Shadows there is murder, mystery, mayhem, chaos and wonderfully empowered funny women who have all gone through major life crisis and who have come out on the other end with a great sense of passion for life and sympathy and understanding for others in this wonderful town Ellery Adams has created.

And finally, just another reason to love Adams, throughout the story she places her own book selections with an appendix at the end of the book. So know that while you read this mystery with a town full of loving and caring people…well most of them, you can perhaps find your next read while trying to solve a murder!

Thank you #NetGalley #Kensington #InkandShadows #ElleryAdams for the advanced copy.