Spotlight: Tell-Tale Bones

Tell-Tale Bones by Carolyn Haines

A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery, #26

Published May 16, 2023 – Minotaur Books


Carolyn Haines’s Tell-Tale Bones marks the next novel in the series that Kirkus Reviews characterizes as “Stephanie Plum meets the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” featuring sassy Southern private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney.

Private Investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her partner Tinkie are in Sheriff Coleman Peters’s office, consulting Coleman about cold cases, when Elisa Redd storms in with a case of her own. She wants Coleman to reopen the investigation of her missing daughter, Lydia Redd Maxell, the heiress to a large fortune who disappeared along with her friend Bethany nearly seven years ago. Lydia and Bethany were rumored to be working as human rights organizers abroad, but Elisa suspects Lydia’s problems might have stemmed closer to home. Now Lydia’s husband, Tope, is set to inherit the fortune, and Elisa believes he’s behind the disappearance.

Sarah Booth and Tinkie soon connect the case to a series of mysterious disappearances over the years, as well as to a perplexing recurring dream. With another woman’s life at stake, the friends follow an increasingly twisty trail all over Sunflower County, leading them to a tree and an empty grave in the county cemetery. A grave that’s said to be haunted… (publisher)

About the author:

Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of over 70 books. In 2020, she was inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alabama Library Association, the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing, the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence, as well as the “Best Amateur Sleuth” award by Romantic Times. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of.


Must Love Flowers

Must Love Flowers by Debbie Macomber

Expected pub. date:  July 11, 2023 – Ballantine

Digital galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley


Joan Sample is not living the life she expected. Now a widow and an empty-nester, she has become by her own admission something of a recluse. But after another birthday spent alone, she is finally inclined to listen to her sister, who has been begging Joan to reengage with the world. With Emmie’s support, Joan gathers the courage to take some long-awaited steps: hiring someone to tame her overgrown garden, joining a grief support group, and even renting out a room to a local college student. Before long Joan is starting to feel a little like herself again.

Across town, Maggie Herbert works mornings as a barista, tending to impatient customers before rushing to afternoon nursing classes. She lives with her alcoholic father, ducking his temperamental outbursts and struggling to pay the household bills. But her circumstances brighten when she finds a room for rent in Joan’s home. In the unexpected warmth of her new situation, Maggie finds a glimmer of hope for a better life. But will Maggie’s budding attraction to one of her favorite customers ruin the harmony she’s only recently found with Joan? Meanwhile, what is Joan to make of the mysterious landscaper who’s been revitalizing her garden—a man who seems to harbor a past loss of his own?

As Maggie and Joan confront difficult life choices, they draw strength from this new friendship in surprising ways—discovering in the process that “found family” is often the very best kind. (publisher)

My take:

I’m a fan of Debbie Macomber and was delighted to read her new book. The cover is so inviting and I like the title. Both drew me to the novel.

This is the story of Joan, a 50-something widow of four years, and Maggie, a young nursing student whose mother died in recent years. Their paths bring them together and they form an unexpected bond that could be life changing. Grief played a big part in the novel and Macomber brought her characters through the journey via a support group and in other ways. Loss of spouse, parent, and children are addressed which will make the novel relatable to many readers. An epilogue neatly wrapped the various storylines.

Recommended to fans of Debbie Macomber and women’s fiction.


Hard Dough Homicide

Hard Dough Homicide by Olivia Matthews

A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery, #2

Review copy from St. Martin’s Paperbacks


Someone in Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean neighborhood has an appetite for murder in Olivia Matthews’ Hard Dough Homicide.

Spice Isle Bakery owner Lyndsay Murray is always looking for new ways to grow her family’s business. But she already regrets agreeing to host the retirement dinner for local high school principal Emily Smith. The tyrant used to be her mother’s boss and they did not get along. Six guests arrive for the celebration, but only five survive. Emily starts convulsing—right after eating the curry chicken—and dies soon after. It’s not long before the police are knocking on Spice Isle’s door, bringing the Murray family back into the heart of another murder investigation—driving away customers in the process. Lyndsay can’t help but wonder if this is the end of the bakery, even though it’s just begun. She must put aside her reservations about investigating another crime, because the Murrays refuse to go down without a fight. (publisher)

My take:

If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries you’ll want to give the Spice Isle Bakery series a try. Hard Dough Homicide is book 2 but I think readers can dip in here (and then go back and read the first). That’s what I did and felt caught up with pertinent details from book one.

Poor Lyndsay Murray is faced with a second murder in as many months involving her family’s bakery. Talk about bad luck! This time they are pressured into hosting a retirement dinner for someone from her mother’s past career. When that someone keels over Lyndsay’s mother becomes a person of interest. Of course, Lyndsay knows her mother is innocent and realizes if she can’t prove it both her mother and the new family business could be lost.

This was a fun cozy made even more enjoyable by the unique setting and characters. I loved getting a peek into the Little Caribbean neighborhood. Two recipes are included at the end! Recommended to fans of the genre.

The Sweetheart List

The Sweetheart List by Jill Shalvis

Expected pub. date:  June 13, 2023 – Avon

Review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley


When Harper Shaw’s life falls apart, she knows it’s time for a change. She removes everything that doesn’t spark joy—from her soul-sucking job to eating kale to making lists—and sets off for the last place she was happy, Lake Tahoe (who wouldn’t feel good there, right?) to fulfill her dream of opening her own bakery.

With her Sugar Pine Bakery in between a tavern, owned by sexy, grumpy Bodie Campbell, and a bookstore, run by her new BFF, she feels a peace she’s never experienced since…well, forever.. Then she meets Ivy, a teenage runaway, who barrels into her heart. She sees a lot of herself in Ivy and takes her under her wing, but the teenager has secrets…

When those secrets explode, it changes Harper’s new world, and she’ll learn, it’s never too late to start over, it’s never too late to figure out your life, and best of all, it’s never too late to let yourself believe in love. (publisher)

My take:

The Sweetheart List is book 4 in the Sunrise Cove series but can definitely be read as a stand-alone.
The more I read Jill Shalvis’s books the more I see a theme of finding family or figuring out the family you were born into. The Sweetheart List is an uplifting story about fresh starts, learning to trust, and figuring out that it might be easier than you think to live the life you’ve dreamed of. It’s a heart-squeezing story told in the warm and humorous style I’ve come to expect from Shalvis – and that keeps her on my must read list.
Recommended to fans of contemporary romance and the author.

Paperback release: The Homewreckers

Published:  May 23, 2023 – St. Martin’s Griffin


Hattie Kavanaugh went to work restoring homes for Kavanaugh & Son Restorations at eighteen, married the boss’s son at twenty, and became a widow at twenty-five. Now, she’s passionate about her work, but that’s the only passion in her life. “Never love something that can’t love you back,” is advice her father-in-law gives her, but Hattie doesn’t follow it and falls head-over-heels for a money pit of a house. She’s determined to make it work, but disaster after disaster occurs, and Hattie’s dream might cost Kavanaugh & Son their livelihood. Hattie needs money, and fast.

When a slick Hollywood producer shows up in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called “The Homewreckers,” cast against a male lead who may be a love interest, or may be the ultimate antagonist. Soon, there’s more at stake than bad pipes and dry rot: during the demolition, evidence comes to light that points to the mysterious disappearance of a young wife and mother years before.

With a burned out detective investigating the case, an arsonist on the loose, two men playing with her emotions, and layers upon layers of vintage wallpaper causing havoc, it’s a question of who will flip, who will flop, and if Hattie will ever get her happily-ever-after. (publisher)

My brief take:

To dig herself out of a financial hole Hattie agrees to be on a home renovation show – a HGTV-like program that is produced to romantically link Hattie and her designer co-host without her knowledge as they renovate an old Tybee Island house. Add in a years-old unsolved local mystery as well as a dash of romance and a pinch of humor and you’ve got Mary Kay Andrews’ summer novel.

It was a fun read and perfect for reading by the pool or, really, anywhere.

Praise for Mary Kay Andrews:

#TheHomewreckers #MaryKayAndrews #StMartinsPress

“Mary Kay Andrews is the queen of beach reads.” —
“A perfect summer escape.” —Booklist
“Seamlessly combines romance and mystery” — PopSugar

“Imagine if HGTV and a murder mystery met, fell in love and unexpectedly produced a rom-com.” — E! Online

The Cafe at Beach End

The Cafe at Beach End by RaeAnne Thayne

Expected publication:  June 13, 2023 – Harlequin Trade/Canary Street Press

Review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Publisher’s Description:

When Meredith Collins was a child, the little beach town of Cape Sanctuary lived up to its name. Spending summers there with her grandmother, Meredith finally felt safe and loved.

Now she’s returning in disgrace. Her late ex-husband swindled investors out of millions of dollars and made Meredith a figure of scorn—though she knew nothing about his scheme. But she still has the beach cottage she inherited from her grandmother and half ownership of the local café. It’s a place to work and earn a little money. That’s if her cousin, Tori, will let her through the door. Once, Tori and Meredith were as close as sisters—until Meredith chose her neglectful parents’ expectations over their bond. Now widowed with a teenage daughter, Tori isn’t setting out a welcome mat for the woman who let her down so badly.

While Meredith tries to make a fresh start, she is drawn to a mysterious writer renting the cottage next door. Liam Byrne’s kindness is a balm, though she worries he might not be so friendly if he knew who she was. But Liam has his own secret and a mission that will help Meredith confront her past—and maybe, claim a surprising future…

My take:

It was nice to settle into a RaeAnne Thayne novel again. The Cafe at Beach End is the story of family – the people who knew you when life’s possibilities seemed limitless and full of hope. Life took cousins Meredith and Tori on different paths but they are back together and now need to find a way of being in the same place. Tori is a widowed mother of a teenage daughter and part owner of the family cafe. She’s overwhelmed by being responsible for both. Meredith lived a luxurious life until it abruptly came to an end when her swindling husband went to prison for his crimes. Old insecurities, jealousies and presumptions are a few of the obstacles that could prevent the cousins from a bright new life. I appreciated the perspectives and issues of both women and how Thayne made it easy to empathize with them.  Recommended to fans of women’s fiction and the author.


Summer Reading

Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay

Published:  May 16, 2023 – Berkley

Digital galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley


For Samantha Gale, a summer on Martha’s Vineyard at her family’s tiny cottage was supposed to be about resurrecting her career as a chef, until she’s tasked with chaperoning her half-brother, Tyler. The teenage brainiac is spending his summer at the local library in a robotics competition, and there’s no place Sam, who has dyslexia, likes less than the library. And because the universe hates her, the library’s interim director turns out to be the hot-reader guy whose book she accidentally destroyed on the ferry ride to the island.

Bennett Reynolds is on a quest to find his father, whose identity he’s never known. He’s taken the temporary job on the island to research the summer his mother spent there when she got pregnant with him. Ben tells himself he isn’t interested in a relationship right now. Yet as soon as Sam knocks his book into the ocean, he can’t stop thinking about her.

An irresistible attraction blossoms when Ben inspires Sam to create the cookbook she’s always dreamed about and she jumps all in on helping him find his father, and soon they realize their summer fling may heat up into a happily ever after. (publisher)

My take: 

Summer Reading is the story of Samantha and Ben. She’s a talented chef who finds herself out of work and heading to Martha’s Vineyard to stay with her fourteen year old brother while their parents are on vacation. She meets Ben on the ferry in a meet-cute. Ben is great and I enjoyed the chemistry that developed between the two despite the fact that he’s a librarian and she is not a book lover. I also loved the bond that grew for Sam and her brother Tyler. I LOL’d several times as they really got to know each other.

The subject of dyslexia figured prominently in the plot and I learned more than I’d expected. I appreciated the information shared by the author about various publication choices (font, using bold type at appropriate times, etc.) that were made. All very interesting.

The love story played out with a bit of drama but I was satisfied with how Jenn McKinlay wrapped things up.


And Then There Was You

And Then There Was You by Nancy Naigle 

Expected pub. date:  June 27, 2023 – St. Martin’s Griffin

Review galley from the publisher and NetGalley

My take:

And Then There Was You is the story of Natalie, a young widow, and the fall-out from discovering she’s been duped by the new man who swept her off her feet. Her emotions run the gamut from feeling foolish to wondering how she’ll ever be able to trust anyone again. She’s at the point of having to start over in a new home in a new town. This new start could be a blessing in disguise. What she finds is a lovely small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains and some endearing local characters who, if Natalie allows herself to trust again, will help her find a new life.

This is a nice and ultimately uplifting story about starting over. I loved Nancy Naigle’s description of setting and people. And I loved the expected happy resolution.

Recommended to fans of the author, a small town setting, and women’s fiction.



Reeling after falling prey to a Romeo con-artist who just waltzed away with the better part of her belongings, Natalie Maynard works closely with the detective assigned to her case, only the few leads have led nowhere.

Detective Randy Fellowes can’t promise Natalie restitution, but he’s determined to find the culprit and serve up justice. Married to his work, he’s caught off guard when Natalie has his thoughts wandering to more than the case.

Natalie soon seeks refuge in the one thing she still owns ― an old fishing cabin in the mountains of Chestnut Ridge. She quickly falls in love with the town and the eccentric people who are teaching her so much about the area and its heritage.

Through these people, and the determination of Detective Fellowes, she rediscovers her courage, self, and a reason to risk love again. (publisher)




Identity by Nora Roberts

Expected publication:  May 23, 2023 – St. Martin’s Press

Digital copy from the publisher and NetGalley

My take:

I can always count on Nora Roberts for an addictive read. In the case of Identity that held true.

This is the story of Morgan Nash and what happens when she lets a handsome man into her life. I really don’t want to spoil with too much plot info (you can read the publisher’s blurb below) but I will say this novel had me flying through the pages because I had to know if the criminal would be stopped and how. Roberts didn’t disappoint. I have to say there are several violent scenes that I found difficult to read so I skimmed through those. As usual, the female characters are women of strength making them easy to cheer on.

I enjoyed this exciting romantic suspense novel and recommend to fans of the author and the genre.


The #1 New York Times-bestselling author’s terrifying new thriller about one man’s ice-cold malice, and one woman’s fight to reclaim her life.

Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan’s job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who’d been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.

Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. “Luke” is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.

What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn’t his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan’s nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother’s home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn’t flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn’t forgotten the one who got away. (publisher)

Nora Roberts
Instagram: @norarobertsauthor
Facebook: @noraroberts
#IdentityNovel #NoraRoberts

St. Martin’s Press
St. Martin’s Press on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook/TikTok: @stmartinspress


Strawberry Lane

Strawberry Lane by Jodi Thomas

Published:  April 25, 2023 – Kensington/Zebra

Courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley


Starri Knight is a big believer in fate. How else to explain the compelling connection she feels to the stranger she pulls out of a wrecked car on the very same road where her parents died twenty years earlier? Alongside Auntie Ona-May, the only mother she’s ever known, Starri saves Rusty O’Sullivan’s life—just as Ona-May once did when Starri was an orphaned babe. But convincing Rusty he has something to live for is going to take all of Starri’s faith in miracles . . .

Like a wish he hadn’t even known to make, Starri landed in Rusty’s life, filling him with a longing for a family . . . Then Jackson Landry, a new lawyer, turns up to present a surprise that will change the direction of his life: An inheritance from the father Rusty never knew—and the promise of the family he’d never had. It’s a lot for the hard-bitten loner to accept as love rushes into his life . . .

A sense of duty has Rusty heading to Honey Creek to deal with his father’s estate—and find his lost siblings. But having family is one thing, learning to love them is another. Good thing new friends are by his side to help him along the way. (publisher)

My take:

It makes me so happy to say this is the first in a new series (also a spinoff from the previous one). Strawberry Lane is the story of a young lawyer who finds himself back in his small hometown to take over his late father’s law practice. He’s like a fish out of water even though he’s in the pond he grew up in. His first case is to find the heirs of a recently deceased client. It becomes clear those heirs will be the focus of the series and I can’t wait to read more! This story of finding family is filled with interesting characters whose lives so far have been formed by how they were and weren’t raised. Told in Jodi Thomas’s usual warm and humorous style, Strawberry Lane is the perfect comfort read. I think fans of small town fiction will love it as much as I did.


The Last Remains

The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths

Published:  April 25, 2023 – Mariner Books

ARC courtesy of the publisher

My take:

Archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is up to her eyeballs in real life. That includes being asked to consult on a case involving a well-preserved skeleton found between walls of a local cafe, the impending elimination of her university department, and her personal relationship with a certain DCI Nelson. All of a sudden life is quite complicated. Is it possible one of Ruth’s closest friends could be implicated in the cold case? It plays out during the middle days of the pandemic which adds an interesting layer to the novel. All combine for a dramatic mystery. I’m sure fans will enjoy the fifteenth installment of the Ruth Galloway series. I’ve only read a couple books in the series and would love to see these characters pop up again in future books by Elly Griffiths.

Publisher Description:

When builders discover a human skeleton during a renovation of a café, they call in archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway, who is preoccupied with the threatened closure of her department and by her ever-complicated relationship with DCI Nelson. The bones turn out to be modern—the remains of Emily Pickering, a young archaeology student who went missing in 2002. Suspicion soon falls on Emily’s Cambridge tutor and also on another archeology enthusiast who was part of the group gathered the weekend before she disappeared—Ruth’s friend Cathbad.

As they investigate, Nelson and his team uncover a tangled web of relationships within the archeology group and look for a link between them and the café where Emily’s bones were found. Then, just when the team seem to be making progress, Cathbad disappears. The trail leads Ruth a to the Neolithic flint mines in Grimes Graves. The race is on, first to find Cathbad and then to exonerate him, but will Ruth and Nelson uncover the truth in time to save their friend?

About the author:

Elly Griffiths is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Magic Men mystery series, as well as the standalone novels THE STRANGER DIARIES, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS, and BLEEDING HEART YARD. She is the recipient of the CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in Brighton, England.


Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust

Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust by Mindy Quigley

Deep Dish Mysteries, #2

Expected Pub. date:  April 25, 2023 – St. Martin’s Press

Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

My take:

When we last visited Geneva Bay, Delilah experienced a breakup with her fiancé, the opening of her new pizza restaurant, and a murder on the soft opening night. In this second book she has high hopes that the summer season will make for a successful re-start. It would really help to be chosen winner of the Taste of Wisconsin contest, the annual town culinary event. The news of who the celebrity judge for the contest is brings her hopes to a screeching stop. Delilah and her assistant cook have a history with the judge and know winning is probably not going to happen. Add a mysterious death at a local juice shop when Delilah was there and the drama starts to amp up. Enter Detective Cal Capone as well as other characters introduced in the first book. They all combined for a cozy that kept me guessing as they worked on solving the mystery.

This is book two in the series and I’m glad to have read book one but you can jump in with this one because Quigley did a good job of catching new readers up. Recommended to fans of foodie cozies and the author.

Praise for Mindy Quigley and Book #1

“Fun and engaging, [with] plenty of thrills…and toppings.”


“Every now and again a cozy comes along in which the author not only checks off all of the boxes but does such an excellent job in the process that the book totally stands out from the crowd. This is the case with Six Feet Deep Dish….Droll and witty, sophisticated and credible, this is a series to watch out for.”

First Clue (starred review)

“Funny, exciting, suspenseful… Delilah is a breath of fresh air.”

 Open Book Society (five stars)

“Your mouth will water from the first page of this delightful new cozy. You’ll also love the characters, and the perfectly plotted murder had me guessing the whole way through. Delilah is my new favorite amateur detective.”

—Paige Shelton, New York Times bestselling author

“Delilah O’Leary is as appealing as the pizzas she serves at her new restaurant. Fiercely loyal to her friends and employees, the strong willed, hugely competent Delilah is a cozy heroine for our times. I loved everything about her and her refreshing can-do attitude to cooking pizza, running her restaurant, and solving murders, along with the occasional healthy dose of insecurity! Six Feet Deep Dish is a wonderful start to a promising series, and I can’t wait to visit Geneva Bay and enjoy more of whatever’s being served at Delilah & Son.”

—Vicki Delany, National bestselling author

“Quigley pens a deliciously twisty mystery layered with salty suspects and packed with local flavor. Six Feet Deep Dish is sure to leave cozy readers drooling for more.”

—Julie Anne Lindsay, bestselling author

“A delight. A delicious adventure, full of wit and charm….Quigley’s excellent writing will amuse and entertain as readers immerse themselves in her twisty plotting.”

—Tracee de Hahn, author of the Agnes Lüthi Mysteries

“Delicious….Six Feet Deep Dish will only stoke your appetite for the next in this must-read new foodie cozy series.”

—Maddie Day, author of the Country Store Mysteries