Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Salon: Reflect, Relax, Refresh

main-hot-chocolateToday we gather once again for Sunday Salon, a time to reflect on the books we’ve read, relax and refresh for the week to come.

Each month I’m amazed and delighted at the numerous cozy mysteries Berkley Prime Crime/Obsidian releases. I should do better and showcase the new releases earlier in the month but somehow I manage to do it at the end instead.

Here are just a few of the wonderful books released this month. For more titles, stop by Berkley’s site. While these are not my normal reviews, I do highly recommend each book listed here and eagerly await the next installment in these delightful series.

PLAN BEE by Hannah Reed

A Queen Bee Mystery121108936
Berkley (Prime Crime)
ISBN-13: 9780425246214
304 Pages, Paperback
Moraine’s annual Harmony Festival is anything but harmonious for Story Fischer. She’s lost this year’s Honey Queen crown to the town’s biggest shoplifter, her domineering mother wants Story’s beehive banned from The Wild Clover festival booth, and a visiting 12-year-old genius is wreaking havoc with his explosive science experiments... 

Then Story stumbles upon a dead body in the cemetery, only to have it disappear—and then reappear during the festival parade. When her mother begins dating the prime suspect and the young scientist goes missing, Story is determined to get to the bottom of this murder. It’s up to her to make a beeline for the truth before everything in Moraine blows sky high. 

This is the third installment in the Queen Bee Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. The other installments include: BUZZ OFF (September 2010) and MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX (May 2011). Hannah Reed is the pseudonym for Deb Baker. For more on the author, visit

This is a series I have enjoyed from the beginning. Author Hannah Reed has created a lovable and zany protagonist in Story Fischer. The supporting characters are fun and intriguing. The series is also filled with interesting facts and tips about bees and honey, as well as delicious honey-based recipes.


AffairsOfSteak 2A White House Chef Mystery
Berkley (Prime Crime)
ISBN-13: 9780425245835
304 Pages, Paperback
White House executive chef Olivia Paras just wants to create first class cuisine for the First Family. Unfortunately, dangerous politics keep spoiling her recipes... 

Assigned to work with her arch nemesis, Peter Everett Sargeant, the White House Sensitivity Director, Ollie must find a venue for an event to honor the Secretary of State. Instead they find one of the First Lady’s assistants and the Chief of Staff, both murdered — and Ollie and Peter may have witnessed the killer making his getaway. 

News reports suggest that the assistant and Chief of Staff were having an affair, but no one on the staff believes the rumor. Now, with their jobs—and their lives—in jeopardy, Ollie and Peter must depend on each other to learn who killed their colleagues and why—before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda... 

This is the fifth installment in the White House Chef Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. The other installments include: STATE OF THE ONION (January 2008), HAIL TO THE CHEF (December 2008), EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS (January 2010), and BUFFALO WEST WING (January 2011). For more on the author and her writing, visit

This is another series I have enjoyed since the first installment and even before getting to know Julie. Ollie Paras is a fun protagonist with a sense of adventure and a flare for cooking. Each installment includes yummy recipes for a complete Presidential menu.

WILD WILD DEATH by Casey Daniels

A Pepper Martin Mysterywild, wild death
Berkley (Prime Crime)
ISBN-13: 9780425245828
304 Pages, Paperback
Her job has been cut, she’s low on cash, and her detective sometime-boyfriend refuses to even talk about her ability to see the dead and solve their murders. So Pepper is most certainly down for a vacation to get her spirits up. 

But when her cute scientist friend Dan is kidnapped, Pepper soon stumbles upon another deadly mystery that brings her to New Mexico. And she’s after a clever murderer—one whose idea of Boot Hill has nothing to do with Jimmy Choo. 

This is the eighth installment in the Pepper Martin Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. Here are a few of the other installments: NIGHT OF THE LOVING DEAD (January 2009), DEAD MAN TALKING (October 2009), TOMB WITH A VIEW (July 2010) and A HARD DAY’S FRIGHT (April 2011). Casey Daniels is the pseudonym for Miranda Bliss and Kylie Logan. For more on the author and her writing, visit

I began reading this series when A HARD DAY’S FRIGHT came out last year and have enjoyed it. Author Casey Daniels has a way of making one believe you really can see dead people.

GHOUL INTERRUPTED by Victoria Laurie

9780451235503A Ghost Hunter Mystery
ISBN-13: 9780451235503
352 Pages, Paperback

M.J. Holliday and her crew interrupt the frantic schedule of their reality TV show, Ghoul Getters, and hotfoot it to New Mexico, where a dreadful demon is waging tribal warfare. Same Whitefeather—M.J.’s spirit guide—urgently needs her help to stop this evil spirit from wiping out the descendants of his tribe. It doesn’t take a psychic to predict that M.J.’s going to have a devil of a time making New Mexico a demon-free zone. 

This is the sixth installment in the Ghost Hunter Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. The other installments include: WHAT’S A GHOUL TO DO? (April 2007), DEMONS ARE A GHOUL’S BEST FRIEND (March 2008), GHOULS JUST HAUNT TO HAVE FUN (March 2009), GHOULD GONE WILD (March 2010), and GHOULS, GHOULS, GHOULS (January 2011). For more on the author and her writing, visit

This is another series that will keep you on your toes trying to keep up with the twists and turns.

DIE JOB by Lila Dare

A Southern Beauty Shop MysteryDie Job
Berkley (Prime Crime)
ISBN-13: 9780425245880
304 Pages, Paperback

After an attempted murder at a supposedly haunted plantation, the ladies of Violetta’s beauty salon unravel secrets that link a high school student, a centuries-old crime, and the roots to a very dark mystery. 

This is the third installment in the Southern Beauty Shop Mystery series, but is a stand alone read. The other installments include: TRESSED TO KILL (May 2010) and POLISHED OFF (February 2011). For more on the author and her writing, visit

Who can resist a cozy murder mystery that includes a beauty shop setting in the south? Besides, there are beauty tips and tricks included.

BLIND SIGHT by Terri Persons

9780425245910Berkley Trade
ISBN-13: 9780425245910
336 Pages, Trade Size

You shouldn’t look for the truth if you’re afraid to see it. 

A deer hunter tracking his wounded prey through Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan State Forest makes the grisly discovery of a young girl’s body. The condition of the corpse is shocking: She’d been pregnant, but the full-term fetus is missing. She’s sixteen-year-old Lydia Dunton, daughter of a high-powered senator who has shut the door on Agent Saint Clare’s investigation. 

Now she has little but dead ends, false leads, and lies to work with—until she discovers a similar crime that occurred in Wisconsin, plunging Bernadette and her boss, Tony, into a circuitous and deadly twist in the case that no one sees coming.
This is the first time BLIND SIGHT has been available in paperback - trade edition. Other books by Persons include: BLIND SPOT (April 2008) and BLIND RAGE (April 2009).

FTC Full Disclosure - These books were sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review them. However, receiving the complimentary copies did not influence my thoughts, reviews, and features on these book.

What books have you enjoyed this past week? Have you read any of these or have them in your TBR stack? What about the book covers? Aren’t these very impressive and catch your eye quickly? Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful Sunday.


  1. I want that cup of coffee - it looks yummy! Affair of Steak is next on my pile to be read, I'm really looking forward to it.

  2. Ingrid, that cup of coffee does look yummy, doesn't it. It would be like something Ollie would serve to a guest visiting her in the White House kitchen. I think you'll enjoy Affairs of the Steak.

  3. Hi Mason,

    I read all of the books you listed and they were all quite good.

  4. Dru, I'm awe struck by the number of books you read. I have found that we do have similar taste in books and enjoy reading your reviews.

  5. Mason - Thanks for sharing these new releases! Always good to hear about a new Julie Hyzy novel, and the rest look interesting, too.

  6. Margot, Julie's books are always a fun read with twists and turns to keep it interesting.

  7. These all look good! Winter is the ideal time to cozy up to a cozy mystery.

  8. Karen, you are so right. I enjoy curling up with a light blanket, cup of hot coffee and an intriguing cozy murder mystery.

  9. Hi Mason, I have Julie Hyzy book on my TBR and I should like Die Job by Lila Dave.
    I prefer the covers of Plan Bee and Die Job in your list.
    Just finished a very very good french canadian historical novel.
    Like to change kinds of books and to switch from french to english. It gives more choices and more perspective.
    About this new method for comments, it took longer because it was in two times:first click(wait) for reading, second clikc (wait) to post comment.
    Have a good week

  10. Danielle, Sorry about the comment problem. I was trying out the new threaded comment Blogger has but it doesn't seem to work with my template so I changed back. I love the idea of switching between French and English books. I wish I could read French, such a beautiful language. Have a great week.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.