Category Archives: Cozy Mystery

Book Review: “Shot in the Dark” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #17)

shotinthedarkTitle:  Shot in the Dark

Author:  Cleo Coyle

Series:  Coffeehouse Mystery #17

Synopsis (from bn.com):

As Village Blend manager Clare Cosi fixes a date for her wedding, her ex-husband is making dates through smartphone swipes. Clare has mixed feelings about these match-ups happening in her coffeehouse. Even her octogenarian employer is selecting suitors by screenshot! But business is booming, and Clare works hard to keep the espresso shots flowing. Then one night, another kind of shot leaves a dead body for her to find.

The corpse is an entrepreneur who used dating apps with reckless abandon—breaking hearts along the way. The NYPD quickly arrests one of the heartbreaker’s recent conquests. But the suspect’s sister tearfully swears her sibling was framed. Clare not only finds reason to believe it, she fears the real killer will strike again.

Now Clare is “swiping” through suspects in her own shop—with the help of her globetrotting ex-husband, a man who’s spent his life hunting for coffee and women. Together they’re determined to find justice before another shot rings out.

 

My thoughts:  Anyone who has read this blog even for a minute knows that I am an avid coffee drinker and the Coffeehouse Mystery series is one of my favorite cozy series . . .  love it.   In fact, it is one of the only cozy series I am actually fully caught up on . . . oh sooooo many series that I am behind.

I love the setting of this series . . . in my mind it is an amazingly beautiful, quaint coffeeshop . . . it is warm, cozy, and I so wish I could visit this shop EVERY DAY!!

I also absolutely love the characters . . . every single one of them are fun, quirky, and each have their own unique personality that I love visiting over and over.

Now all this being said, all the techno computer dating app stuff that was the premise of this story just wasn’t my gig in that it just didn’t interest me, but it didn’t ruin it for me.

Now Cleo Coyle, dear author, can we have another book set in the Washington DC café?  Or better yet, how about a spin off series about the DC café? Yes, yes, yes!!

Overall, a wonderful addition to one of my favorite series!  Keep up the great work.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “A Just Clause” by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Mystery #11)

justclause

Title:  A Just Clause

Author:  Lorna Barrett

Series:  Booktown Mystery #11

Synopsis (from amazon.com): Just when things are getting back to normal in Booktown, Tricia and Angelica have their lives turned upside down by a shocking visitor from their past in this latest entry in Lorna Barrett’s New York Times bestselling series.

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is in for a surprise when her ne’er-do-well father, John, comes to town—and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia’s faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time.

But what about bestselling thriller author Steven Richardson? Is it a coincidence that he arrived for a book signing just before the crime or that the victim was found with a signed copy of his latest bestseller?

From merlot to murder, Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up and ruins Stoneham’s first—and highly anticipated—wine and jazz festival.

My thoughts:  Well needless to say this is one of my favorite cozy mystery series – I mean come on what avid reader wouldn’t love a cozy set in a book store in a town that is entirely made of different book stores – HEAVEN!

I must admit that given that this was the first book where Tricia was back in her beloved bookstore after it burned down in a previous book – I really thought there would be some sort of big Grand Opening celebration as part of this book, but no such luck!

Overall this series is wonderful, set in a charming shop in a charming town.  The characters are lovely and this all leads to a wonderful series.

If you haven’t explored this series, I highly suggest you get to the library or the bookstore . . . go, go, go.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review: “In Cave Danger” by Kate Dyer-Seeley (Pacific Northwest Mystery #5)

in cave danger

Title:  In Cave Danger

Author:  Kate Dyer-Seeley

Series:  Pacific Northwest Mystery #5

Synopsis (from Amazon.com): 

On an expedition into Oregon’s Lava River Cave, outdoor journalist Meg Reed stumbles across a body buried way more than six feet under . . .
 
A debate is raging over the use of public lands, and to cover the story for Northwest Extreme magazine, Meg joins a congressman and several others on a subterranean adventure—despite her intense claustrophobia. The thoughts of cave-ins and cougars are unnerving, but at least it’s a distraction from her other anxieties, like her best friend’s departure for Italy, her boss’s plan to sell the company, and the ongoing questions about her father’s suspicious death. But in the chilly darkness of the volcanic rock, she discovers a Forest Service employee, stabbed with a trowel. Now Meg will need to do some in-depth investigating or the truth may never come to the surface . . .

 

My thoughts:  I love, love, love this cozy mystery series and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite series . . . you know the kind where you research the publication date and make sure you order it immediately!!

First of all, this may seem a bit silly to say one is learning from a simple, fun mystery, but as a lifelong Midwesterner who has not visited the Pacific Northwest I really am enjoying how much I am learning about this area of the country in terms of its landscapes, places, and adventures!  Love it.

All of the characters in this series are just fun to love!  They are quirky, smart, and yet each have their own wonderful backstory and personal story.

As the series progresses I am absolutely loving how the author is slowly building on each character and giving us more insight into their backgrounds, their connections, and who they truly are.

My only caveat to this wonderful glimpse into giving us more depth into each character, is that I feel that the author has lost a bit of the absolutely hilarious humor that was present in the first few books.  At the beginning of this series when the author was describing the main characters adventure antics, I was laughing out loud at what she was getting herself into.  Now some of this humor is lacking.  If there was a better balance between this humor and character development – it would be PERFECT!

Overall, a great cozy mystery series.  Do yourself a favor and start from the beginning.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review: “Cinnamon Toasted” by Gail Oust (Spice Shop Mystery #3)

cinnamon toastedTitle:  Cinnamon Toasted

Author:  Gail Oust

Series:  Spice Shop Mystery #3

Synopsis (from Amazon.com):

Peppered with the perfect amount of humor, romance, and suspense―plus recipes!―
spice shop owner Piper Prescott’s taste for cracking down on small-town crime in this savory new series is always a rollicking good time.

Beneath her twinsets and pearls, Melly, Piper Prescott’s former mother-in-law, is a techno geek at heart who has just received an offer from a major software company that she can’t refuse. News in Brandywine Creek, Georgia, spreads faster than Piper’s own cinnamon honey butter, and soon Melly is the toast of the town. Especially when one of her new corporate investors, Chip Balboa, comes to town for Oktoberfest. Soon cloves and cardamom are flying off Piper’s shelves…

But all that changes when Chip’s corpse turns up at the foot of Melly’s basement. Questions quickly heat up when hunky police chief Wyatt McBride arrives on the scene. Why did it take Melly so long to report the incident―is it because she and Chip exchanged red-hot words before he turned up dead? Piper knows that Melly would never hurt a fly on a sticky bun, and she enlists the help of her BFF Reba Mae to clear her name. But can they sniff out the real killer before Melly gets burned…for good?

 

My thoughts:  Well . . . what can I say about this one?  This third installment of Oust’s Spice Shop mystery series was just ok for me.  I don’t know whether it was because I just took too long to get through it or if it was just in the writing and the pacing.  I can’t decide but it was a bit blah for me.

I enjoyed the first two quite a bit more – because as odd as it sounds – those seemed to take place more in the actual Spice Shop and provide some interesting facts and tidbits about spices while this one did not at all.

Dear cozy mystery writers – I know you all like to shake things up a bit with your books, but don’t take your cozies and our favorite characters out of the wonderful locations/shops/coffee houses/bakeries, etc that are the very reason why I love cozies so much.  I want to experience, feel, see, and smell that wonderful cozy location – I want to imagine myself in that location.  It’s why I LOVE cozy mysteries – because I can escape into those places.

Overall, just an ok read for me.  Overall, a nice fun series for cozy lovers!!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review: “A Fatal Fleece” by Sally Goldenbaum (Seaside Knitters #6)

fatalfleeceTitle:  A Fatal Fleece

Author:  Sally Goldenbaum

Series:  Seaside Knitters Mystery #6

Synopsis (from bn.com): 

This summer in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, one of the Seaside Knitters gets tangled up with a precocious granddaughter, and another stands accused of sending a local resident on a permanent vacation…

As Izzy and the Seaside Knitters prepare her yarn studio for the tourist season, fellow knitter Birdie Favazza has her hands full with her granddaughter Gabby. The little girl soon becomes a fixture in the town and even strikes up a friendship with a reclusive local fisherman, Finnegan, who is the source of much local turbulence.

Then lobsterwoman Cass Halloran stumbles over the old fisherman—his body covered with leaves and sea grass and wearing the yellow fleece vest she once made for him. When Cass becomes a suspect in his murder the Knitters must rally to protect their friend.

Soon the Seaside Knitters will discover that caring for Gabby while casting their net for a killer is a tricky business, indeed. They’ll have to keep their wits about them as they piece together the clues…or one of their own will wind up knitting behind bars.

 

My thoughts:  Hmmmm, what can I say . . . I am having mixed feelings about this series over the last couple of books.  I don’t know whether it is I need a break from cozy mysteries for awhile or if the books are just getting increasingly slow and a bit boring.

I truly do enjoy the setting and the main characters in this series . . . it just feels as if the story lines regarding the actual murder mystery have been dragging quite a bit.  Ugh!

I will keep giving it a try since of course like any good reader . . . I already own the entire series 🙂

Overall, a fun cozy mystery series with great main characters and a charming, cozy location – but increasingly slow plot lines!!

And remember,

Books are Life,

Heather

 

 

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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: “While My Pretty One Knits” by Anne Canadeo (Black Sheep Knitters Mystery #1)

whilemyprettyoneknits

Title:  While My Pretty One Knits

Author:  Anne Canadeo

Series:  Black Sheep Knitters #1

Synopsis (from bn.com):  The Black Sheep Knitters—Maggie, Lucy, Dana, Suzanne, and Phoebe—meet once a week without fail, sharing the varied and colorful skeins of their lives as much as knitting tips, recipes, and small-town gossip, and creating an intricate, durable pattern of friendship. Now a shocking murder has peaceful Plum Harbor, Massachusetts, in knots —and the Black Sheep women must herd together to protect one of their own from a scandalous frame-up.

Maggie Messina, beloved owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is thrilled to be hosting a workshop for one of her former students, now a celebrity in the knitting world. But the celebration is upstaged when Amanda Goran, the owner of the rival Knitting Nest, is found dead in her shop on the other side of town.

Maggie had reasons to dislike Amanda, a thorn in her side ever since Maggie’s shop surpassed Amanda’s in popularity. Then again, it wasn’t hard to dislike Amanda—the contentious woman, whose marriage was on the rocks, seemed to specialize in causing misery all over town. But the pointed evidence has a detective casting a suspicious eye on Maggie. She may be a whiz at knitting, but can she keep the police from needling her before her shop, her reputation, and her circle of friends become unraveled?

 

My thoughts:  This first book in the Black Sheep Knitters series offers some hope for another great cozy mystery series.

I must admit I’m not going to label this my favorite new cozy series by any means at this point.  I of course will read the rest of the series – because well that is the kind of reader I am, I can’t leave my characters hanging even after one book, and let’s face it I already have the rest of the series on my bookshelves 🙂

This series is going to take me a little while to get into.  I am just starting to know the characters, but they seem a bit blah and dull to me.  None of them stand out – they need a bit more kick at this point.  I am certain reading further into the series will correct this issue for me.

I did have the mystery figured out long before the end of the book which is a huge problem since I am NEVER the type to do this when I read.

I am going to continue to give this series a chance – it just doesn’t seem to have the cozy spirit and wonderfully memorable characters as some other series I’ve read.

Overall, an ok cozy series that needs some more memorable characters and a little bit more spunk.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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