Category Archives: Cleo Coyle

Book Review: “Dead Cold Brew” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #16)

deadcoldbrew

Title:  Dead Cold Brew

Author:  Cleo Coyle

Series:  Coffeehouse Mystery #16

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi sheds tears of joy when her NYPD detective boyfriend surprises her with an engagement ring. But her bridal bliss is put on hold when a chilling mystery brings a wave of deadly danger to those she holds dear…
 
After everything Clare and Mike have been through, they deserve a little bit of happily ever after. So when Mike decides to put a ring on Clare’s finger, Clare’s eccentric octogenarian employer is there to help. She donates the perfect coffee-colored diamonds to include in the setting and the name of a world-famous jeweler who happens to be an old family friend. But while the engagement is steeped in perfection, the celebration is not long lived.

First, a grim-faced attorney interrupts their party with a mysterious letter bequeathing a strange, hidden treasure to Clare’s daughter. Next, the renowned jeweler who designed Clare’s ring is found poisoned in his shop. Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a suspiciously charming jewel thief, and a shocking family secret. With deadly trouble brewing, Clare must track down clues in some of New York’s most secret places before an old vendetta starts producing fresh corpses.

My thoughts:  I absolutely LOVE this series, in fact it is one of my favorite cozy mystery series – since I am an avid coffee drinker.  However, I can’t believe I’m typing this and admitting this, but this book in the series feel quite a bit short for me.  Not my favorite, by any means.

I felt like the whole storyline was just a bit disjointed for me.  It seemed to go all over the place for me.  Not to mention, I personally just didn’t enjoy the whole family history storyline so that didn’t help matters much.

And what bothered me most about this one is that Claire and the coffeehouse gang really never hung around the coffeehouse in this book, they were out and about in the city, etc.  I know this seems incredibly odd and petty perhaps, but one of my favorite parts about reading cozy mysteries is that they are set in their cozy places whether it be a bakery, a tea shop or in this case a coffeehouse.

Please take us back to the Coffeehouse!

All in all, just a so so book in this series for me! Not my favorite!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Dead to the Last Drop” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #15)

deadtothelastdrop

Title:  Dead to the Last Drop

Author:  Cleo Coyle

Series:  Coffeehouse Mystery #15

Synopsis (bn.com):  After the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on the coffee service for a Rose Garden Wedding, she discovers a historic pot was used as a CIA “dead drop” decades before. Now long-simmering secrets boil over, scalding Clare and the people around her…

Clare’s visit to the nation’s capital is off to a graceful start. Her octogenarian employer lands her a housesitting job in a charming Georgetown mansion, and she’s invited to work with a respected curator on the Smithsonian’s culinary salute to coffee in America.

Unfortunately, Clare’s new Village Blend DC is struggling to earn a profit, until its second floor Jazz Space attracts a high-profile fan—the college-age daughter of the U.S. President. Clare’s stock rises as the First Lady befriends her, but she soon learns a stark lesson: Washington can be murder.

First a stylish State Department employee suspiciously collapses in her coffeehouse. Then the President’s daughter goes missing. Is she a runaway bride or is something more sinister in play? After another deadly twist, Clare is on the run with her NYPD detective boyfriend. Branded an enemy of the state, she must piece together clues and uncover the truth before her life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness come to a bitter end.

My thoughts:  I absolutely love this series . . . but I will have to say that “Dead to the Last Drop” has got to be the best one in the series yet!  LOVED IT!

Welcome to the Village Blend, DC coffee shop and Jazz club – yes!  Welcome to a new location, new characters, new intrigue – Yes!

I absolutely love the fresh perspective that this installment takes having our wonderful coffeehouse characters Clare, Matt, Quinn, and the gang taking their show on the road for a new Village Blend opening in Washington, DC.

I loved the wonderful blend of new characters based in the DC coffee shop and our favorites based in New York!

I must say I am a huge cozy mystery fan and often find they can easily tend toward the formulaic, cheesy side . . . but not this one.  This Coffeehouse Mystery felt as if it totally broke from the cozy mold and almost felt to me like a true mystery/thriller than any type of cozy.

I loved the intrigue of the Washington DC scene . . . I loved the historical perspective of learning about DC, its landmarks, Presidential politics and the like.

Are you getting the overall impression that I loved this book . . . then you are right!

Best book in the series . . . and of course I very much look forward to seeing where #16 takes us.  I’m a little sad I have to leave my coffeehouse friends for another year!

Get your hands on this book now!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review – “Billionaire Blend” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #13)

billionaireblend

 

  Title:  Billionaire Blend

  Author:  Cleo Coyle

  Publisher:  Berkley Publishing Group

  Series:  Coffeehouse Mysteries #13

  Synopsis (from bn.com):  Landmark coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi has served her share of New York’s rich and famous, but even she is surprised by her explosive introduction to a mysterious Internet billionaire…

When a car bomb nearly kills tech whiz Eric Thorner, Clare comes to his aid and receives a priceless thank you. Not only does the billionaire buy her a barista’s dream espresso machine, he hires her for an extraordinary project: creating the world’s most expensive coffee blend.

The police quickly arrest Eric’s alleged attacker, yet death continues to surround the unlucky mogul, leading Clare to question whether a fatal fall and another lethal mishap are premeditated murders or merely freak accidents. Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn, has a theory of his own—one Clare refuses to believe.

Meanwhile, Eric jets Clare around the world on a head-spinning search for the very best coffee, and Clare gets to know his world—a mesmerizing circle of money with rivalries that could easily have turned deadly. But is this charming young CEO truly marked for termination? Or is he the one making a killing?

 

My thoughts:  Anyone who has ever read my blog before knows that I absolutely love the Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle!  Perhaps it is because I myself am a full-fledged coffeeholic or perhaps it is because I simply can’t get enough of the Village Blend and its cast of characters.

Although I have fully enjoyed every book in this series, I must say that “Billionaire Blend” has to be one of my favorites to date!  It literally was the type of book I couldn’t put down . . . which frankly isn’t always the case in the cozy genre.  

Billionaire Blend has a real energy and excitement that is often missing in the cozy genre.  I think this may have stemmed from the very modern topic of development of computer applications and billionaire lifestyles. 

And I thought I knew about coffee . . . but wow, this book will teach you a great deal of coffee, from different coffee drinks, to coffee growing around the world.  This author know her stuff! 

I love what the author is doing with character development of some of our every favorite cozy characters and I am excited to see where she goes with this in her next book.  What is happening between Claire and Mike Quinn?  What is the future like for Joy and Franco?  I can’t wait to find out.

Now if only there was a true Village Blend in every community . . . I so want to go there!!!

In short, it was a great book!  Head to the store or your local library, sit down with your favorite cup of coffee, and have a wonderful journey!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review – “Holiday Buzz” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #12)

holiday buzz  Title:  Holiday Buzz

Author:  Cleo Coyle

Series:  A Coffeehouse Mystery #12

Publisher:  Berkley Prime Crime

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Holiday time is party time in New York City, but after a sparkling winter bash ends with a murder, Village Blend coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi vows to put the killer on ice…

At the Great New York Cookie Swap, pastry chefs bake up their very best for charity. Clare is in charge of the beverage service, and her famous Fa-la-la-la Lattes make the gathering even merrier. But her high spirits come crashing down to earth, when she discovers the battered body of a hard-working baker’s assistant.

Police suspect a serial attacker whose escalating crimes have become known as “The Christmas Stalkings.” Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn, finds reason to believe even more sinister forces are involved. Clare isn’t so sure—and when she finds a second bludgeoned baker, she becomes a target. Now Clare is spending the holiday season pouring over clues, and she’s not going to rest until justice is served.

 

My thoughts:  Anyone who has ever read this blog knows that Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mystery series is one of my absolute favorite cozy mystery series.  Perhaps this is because I am an absolute coffee addict . . . nah, that can’t be 🙂   This cozy series most definitely meets my two criteria for a great cozy:

1.  The main character, Clare Cosi, is a strong, empowered female character.  She has a head on her shoulders and isn’t a ditzy character (which drives me crazy).

2.  The main setting in the series has to be ultra inviting and I have to want to be in that place. The Village Blend definitely qualifies.  Every time I read a Coffeehouse Mystery, I long to be in that very place.  I have a vivid picture in my head of what The Village Blend looks like to me, where the tables are, what the coffee bar looks like, what the upstairs looks like!  The more I read this series, the more I just know The Village Blends exists . . . somewhere . . . and I need to be there!

I love the characters in this series as well.   I love their friendships and their camaraderie.  I want to know more, especially where the relationship between Mike Quinn and Clare is going 🙂

This book includes some delicious looking recipes in the back for cookies and other sweet treats!  Can’t wait to try some!

In short, this series is an absolute MUST read!  I can’t wait for the next installment – “Billionaire Blend” due to be released in October 2013!

Go out and get this book along with the previous 11 in the series.  You won’t be sorry!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

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Book Review – “A Brew to a Kill” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #11)

  Title:  A Brew to a Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery #11)

Author:  Cleo Coyle

ISBN:  9780425247877

Publisher:  Berkley Publishing Group

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

A shocking hit-and-run in front of her Village Blend coffeehouse spurs Clare Cosi into action. A divorced, single mom in her forties, Clare is also a dedicated sleuth, and she’s determined to track down this ruthless driver who ran down an innocent friend and customer. In the meantime, her ex-husband Matt, the shop’s globetrotting coffee buyer, sources some amazing new beans from Brazil. But he soon discovers that he’s importing more than coffee, and Clare may have been the real target of that deadly driver. Can ex-husband and wife work together to solve this mystery? Or will their newest brew lead to murder? Includes recipes.

My thoughts:  I have found myself in a bit of a reading slump lately.  For an avid book reader and lover of books, this feels like a day without sunshine or if you should check if something is really wrong 🙂  So I decided to delve into some of my favorite cozy series to see if that could give me the jumpstart I needed.  This 11th book in the Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse Mystery Series did the trick and definitely did not disappoint.  I have to say hands down that this has got to be my favorite cozy series.  Perhaps it is because of my excessive love of and addiction to all things coffee – yes in fact I am enjoying a nice warm, strong cup of Kona directly from Hawaii as I write this 🙂  In my opinion, cozy mysteries are supposed to be just that – cozy!  Isn’t that why we read them, because we want to be transported away from our everyday life to that cozy spot, that bookstore, that sewing shop, that . . . whatever it is for you.  The coffeeshop in this series, The Village Blend, does just that for me!  I have this vivid picture in my head of how the coffee shop is all set up and where I want to sit as I tuck in with my warm coffee and a favorite book!  When I read this series, I can literally smell the coffee roasting in the basement, can taste the perfect espresso shot, and can taste the decadent desserts that are whipped up in the kitchen!  This series provides the perfect escape!

The characters are just plain delightful!  They are quirky, fun, creative, strong, and just plain likeable.  Everytime I open the pages of the books in this series, I feel like I’m somehow walking back into people I know and love!

I really enjoyed the overall storyline and plots in this particular book.  Let’s face it, cozy mysteries can seem rather cheesy and formulaic at times, but this series just doesn’t feel like that to me!

I highly recommend you make yourself a cup of coffee, a latte, a cappuccino, or whatever your drink of choice is and start this series!  you won’t regreat it!

Book #12 “Holiday Buzz” is available December 4!  A perfect way to take some time to relax during the busy Christmas season.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Great new Cozy Mystery releases in August

  Title:  Powedered Peril (Donut Shop Mystery Series #8)

Author:  Jessica Beck

Release Date:  8/28/12

Synopsis (from BN.com):

It’s hard to keep a secret in April Springs—especially when it involves a no-good cheater like Peter Morgan. Donut shop owner Suzanne Hart has tried to be civil with the guy, since he’s dating her best friend Grace. But when Grace shows up at her doorstep—sobbing—Suzanne’s the first to admit she’s glad the relationship is over. She’s also the first to spot the footprints leading to Peter’s dead body…

Instead of the usual morning donuts, the police are busy rounding up suspects and sifting through clues: Why did  Peter splash yellow paint on Suzanne’s shop window before he was murdered? How angry was Grace when she learned that her boyfriend was two-timing (or three- or four-timing)? Suzanne is willing to bet dollars to donuts that her friend is innocent. Now she has to prove it—before the real killer takes a powder…

  Title:  Peril in Paperback (Bibliophile Mystery Series #6)

Author:  Kate Carlisle

Release Date:  8/7/12

Synopsis (from BN.com):  Carlisle’s pleasing if flawed seventh Bibliophile mystery (after One Book in the Grave) takes book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright to an astonishing mansion overlooking Lake Tahoe for the 50th birthday party of computer genius Grace Crawford. Grace has stocked her labyrinthine home with enough hidden panels, man-sized mouse traps, and holistic images to either entertain or terrorize her diverse guests. Grace promises to cap the party with readings from her as yet unpublished autobiographical novel. But the fun and games turn deadly when Bella Santangelo, one of Grace’s corporate employees, dies after drinking passion fruit iced tea. But was the poisoned drink meant for Grace? Driven by a restless need to pry, Brooklyn uses her deductive skills to try to discover who wanted Grace dead. The story moves slowly, not without wit and surprises, toward an ending replete with chaotic scenes of confessions, revelations, and physical assaults.

  Title:  Sour Apples (Orchard Mystery Series #6)

Author:  Shiela Connolly

Release Date:  8/7/12

 

 

 

  Title:  A Brew to a Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery Series #11) – I have read all of this series and they are excellent!!

Author:  Cleo Coyle

Release Date:  8/7/12

Synopsis (from BN.com): Coyle’s Coffeehouse books are superb” (Library Journal), and now the national bestselling author of Murder by Mocha serves up a hot new Coffeehouse Mystery with A Brew to a Kill.

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

A shocking hit-and-run in front of her Village Blend coffeehouse spurs Clare Cosi into action. A divorced, single mom in her forties, Clare is also a dedicated sleuth, and she’s determined to track down this ruthless driver who ran down an innocent friend and customer. In the meantime, her ex-husband Matt, the shop’s globetrotting coffee buyer, sources some amazing new beans from Brazil. But he soon discovers that he’s importing more than coffee, and Clare may have been the real target of that deadly driver. Can ex-husband and wife work together to solve this mystery? Or will their newest brew lead to murder? Includes recipes.

  Title:  When the Cookie Crumbles (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery Series #3)

Author:  Virginia Lowell

Release Date:  8/7/12

Synopsis (from BN.com):

Olivia Greyson is the proud owner of The Gingerbread House—a quaint shop that specializes in all things cookie—and her best friend, Maddie, is her sidekick, baking up scrumptious treats for their parties. But the real-life version of their magnificent gingerbread house is about to crumble to pieces…

Tensions are running high as Chatterley Heights’ 250th birthday celebration approaches, and Olivia and Maddie are working feverishly to finish a gingerbread house modeled after the famous Chatterley Mansion. When Paine Chatterley, presumed to be dead, shows up to claim his father’s house, the town gossips are driven into a tizzy. And when he refuses to allow visitors to tour the mansion during the celebration, all the preparations seem for naught.

Then Paine is found lifeless in the bathtub, his wife hysterical and their precious heirlooms destroyed. The hidden lives of the prestigious Chatterley family members begin to surface, and Olivia must unravel their dark past. As it turns out, the town’s history isn’t all that sweet…

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Book Review – Murder by Mocha by Cleo Coyle

Title:  Murder by Mocha (Coffeehouse Mystery #10)
Author:  Cleo Coyle
ISBN:  9780425241431
Publisher:  Berkley Prime Crime

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Clare’s Village Blend coffee beans are being used to create a new java love potion: a “Mocha Magic Coffee,” billed as an aphrodisiac. The product, expected to rake in millions, will be sold exclusively on Aphrodite’s Village, one of the most popular online communities for women.
But at its launch, one of the website’s editors is murdered. Clare is convinced a bitter killer wants the secret formula. Can she catch who’s gone loco for mocha?

My thoughts:  I really liked this book, heck I really like this entire series.  I started reading this series simply  because coffee is one of my favorite things on the planet and I thought it would be fun, but now I find myself also really enjoy the characters in this series.  I don’t know how she does it, but the author keeps these characters fresh, interesting, and unique even 10 books into the series.

We all know that many cozy mysteries are a bit formulaic in how things proceed:  murder happens, shop owner automatically becomes amateur sleuth trying to solve the mystery, shop owner falls in love with the cop in charge of solving the mystery, crazy antics ensue.  Cleo Coyle’s series does not at all feel that way to me, it feels more real, yet with plenty of fun and interest along the way.  

Not to mention there are fabulous looking recipes in the back of the book! 

Keep on writing, Cleo, because I’m coming back for a refill with Book #11.

My rating:  :  )  :  )  :  )  :  )  Liked it!

And remember,
Books Are Life,
Heather

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