chez_jae: (Books)
Just finished reading Nightshade for Warning by Bailey Cattrell. It's the second book in her "Enchanted Garden" mystery series.

Elliana "Ellie" Allbright is delighted when her half-brother Colby shows up in Poppyville unexpectedly. Also unexpected is Larken, the girlfriend he has in tow. Ellie quickly warms to Larken, and when the Larken is accused of murder, Ellie takes it upon herself to prove the other woman is innocent. She has no shortage of suspects, as journalist Blake Sontag made enemies far easier than he made friends.

A tract of land that Sontag owned with his sister seems to be at the crux of his murder. Ellie thinks that if she can find out who wanted to buy it, then she would know who was furious when Sontag took the property off of the market. When her line of inquiry strikes too close to a killer's home, Ellie becomes the next target.

Woven throughout Ellie's investigation is her long-distance relationship with Ritter, and new, developing feelings for Spence, a photographer who accompanied Sontag to town to do a feature on Ellie's tiny house. This author seems to like giving her female leads two handsome hunks to choose from (Cattrell also writes the "Magical Bakery" mystery series as Bailey Cates). I enjoyed the book. Ellie is an engaging character, as are other returning characters. I find myself cheering for Spence in the romance department. Ha ha! The story contains a paranormal thread, as Ellie is able to use her intuition or empathy to discern what will most benefit the customers at her aromatherapy shop.

Favorite line: "I'm bruised but not beaten!"

Very good, would certainly recommend. Five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I read the rest of Daisies for Innocence, which is the first book in a new series by author Bailey Cattrell, aka Bailey Cates. If you're writing in the same genre, why use another nom de plume? Honestly!

As the story begins, Elliana Allbright is establishing her own business after her divorce a year earlier. Ellie has opened a shop that sells custom-made perfumes, soaps, and other aromatherapy products. Ever since she was young, Ellie has had a knack for intuiting just what will help people the most, and she uses that gift to suggest and even create custom blends for them. Behind her shop is her cherished garden, which she calls the Enchanted Garden. Ellie had the shed at the bottom of the garden converted to a small cottage that she now calls home. She lives there with her corgi, Dash. The shop came with a resident cat named Nabokov.

When Ellie's assistant Josie tells Ellie that she's now dating her ex-husband, Ellie is shocked, and she fears her relationship with Josie will become strained. Instead, she finds Josie murdered at the edge of her garden the following day. Now Ellie finds herself the prime suspect in the crime, and she is determined to prove she didn't do it.

This was an adorable cozy mystery. I enjoyed Ellie's friends and neighbors, especially Astrid, who baked cookies each morning and brought them to Ellie's shop, Scents & Nonsense. Of the two cops assigned to investigate the case, one is a friend of Ellie's ex, and he's a total jerk to her. The other is a young woman who is new to the area. She and Ellie strike up a guarded friendship. And, best of all, Ellie's new love interest is NOT a police officer, sheriff, detective, private eye, Fed, or anyone involved in law enforcement. I mean, come on, people! Have the rest of you noticed that the female protagonist in cozy mysteries is almost invariably paired up with someone in law enforcement? Sheesh. Instead, Ritter Nelson is a botanist. Hah! I love it!

Favorite line: "The odds here are good, but the goods are pretty odd."

Fun, refreshing, and interesting. Four out of five:

♦♦♦♦

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