Tag Archives: cozy

Book Review: “Not the Killing Type” by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Mystery #7)


Title:  Not the Killing Type

Author:  Lorna Barrett

Series:  Booktown Mystery #7

Synopsis (from bn.com):

It’s November in Stoneham, New Hampshire, and time for the Chamber of Commerce elections. The long-standing Chamber president is being challenged by a former lover—Tricia’s own sister, Angelica. Also throwing his hat in the ring is small business owner Stan Berry. Unfortunately, Stan isn’t in the race for long.

When Stan is found murdered, his political rivals become suspects. Angelica is going to need more than a vote of confidence from her sister—she needs Tricia to clear her name so she can win the election.

Tricia soon uncovers a ballot box full of lies and betrayals, and a chamber full of people who had grudges against the victim. But were they serious enough to lead to murder? It’s up to Tricia to pull the lever on a killer before it’s curtains for someone else.


My thoughts:  I was so excited to get back to my friends in Stoneham, New Hampshire, known fondly as booktown.  As a cozy lover and an avid reader, the mere concept of a little cozy town that has bookstore after bookstore is super exciting.

I love this cozy series.  The characters are fun, friendly, and make you want to come back for more.

My only small complaint about this particular book in the series is that I felt it didn’t really spend  much time on the actual murder mystery part of the book and focused more on all the other extraneous type goings on.  I felt as if the actual murder and whodunit part was almost treated as an afterthought . . . not cool.  Of course I still will be back for book #8 . . . hahahah.

A fun, cozy series set in a charming place.  perhaps a great book for a summer road trip or the beach 🙂

And remember,

Books Are Life,



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Book Review and Blog Tour: “Rosemary & Crime” by Gail Oust


rosemarycrime  Title:  Rosemary and Crime

Author:  Gail Oust

ISBN:  9781250011046

Publisher:  Minotaur Books


Synopsis (from bn.com):

Murder comes well-seasoned in this charming mystery featuring a smart and spunky new amateur sleuth, small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott.

Piper Prescott, a transplanted Yankee living in the South, has got her sass back.  She might be down, but don’t count her out.  “Change of life?” she asks.  Bring it on.  Recently divorced, Piper decides to pursue a dream she’s secretly harbored: owning her own business, Spice it Up!, a spice shop in her adopted hometown, Brandywine Creek, Georgia.  But Piper’s grand opening goes awry when the local chef who’s agreed to do a cooking demo is found stabbed.  Not only did Piper find the body, she handled the murder weapon and doesn’t have a witness to her alibi, making the case look like a slam dunk to brand new police Chief Wyatt McBride.  Desperate to uncover the truth—and prove her innocence—Piper enlists the help of her outspoken BFF Reba Mae Johnson to help track down the real culprit.  The pair compile a lengthy list of suspects and work to eliminate them using their own creative brand of sleuthing techniques including stakeouts, breaking and entering, and one very unorthodox chocolate pie. When Piper narrowly avoids being a victim of a hit-and-run, she knows she’s getting closer to the truth, but can she catch the killer and clear her name before she becomes the next victim?

A captivating start to a new series featuring an unstoppably fabulous new crime-solving heroine, a colorful cast of small town characters, and more than a pinch of Georgia charm, Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust is sure to delight fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Donna Andrews.

 My thoughts:  What a delightful addition to the cozy genre!  I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are wonderful – a nice combination of funny, witty, quirky, strong, and quick-witted!
Among the host of foodie cozies out there this is a wonderful addition – I thought the concept of a spice shop was a great twist, loved it!
The only addition that I would have loved to have is if the author would have a added some recipes or perhaps even some tips about spices in the back of the book.  There were some great dishes in the book that I would have loved to have the recipe too: lasagna – yum!  I think it would have been very unique to have perhaps some tips on keeping spices or education about different spices in the back of the book.  After hearing about some of the unique spices in the book, I know I for one wanted some more knowledge.
A wonderful new cozy mystery with a foodie theme.  You know you are loving a book when about half way through you are thinking to yourself, “Oh, I certainly hope this author is working on the next book in the series.  I have to know what these characters get into next.  When does the next one come out!”  Very much looking forward to more adventures from Piper and Spice it Up!!
And remember,
Books Are Life,

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Cruisin Through The Cozies Challenge 2014



Welcome to the fourth annual Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge! I’m still loving the cozies and this is one of the few challenges I plan to continue hosting.

To find out exactly what a cozy mystery is, check out Cozy-Mystery.com. This site is dedicated to cozy mysteries and does a great job of defining them as well as giving a list of cozy mysteries. This challenge is NOT restricted to what is on their list, it’s just to be used as a guideline in case you need some hints on what to read.

So, here are the rules…

1. Choose the level you wish to participate:

Level 1 – Snoop – Read at least 6 books

Level 2 – Investigator – Read 7-12 books

Level 3 – Super Sleuth – Read 13 or more books


LEVEL 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 20 or more

2. The challenge runs from January 1, 2014 and ends December 31, 2014.

3. You don’t have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year. Books can overlap with other challenges.

4. Books can be in any format – paper, audio, ebooks…it all counts!

5. You don’t have to post a review, but I’m sure others would love to know about the books you are reading and may even want to add it to their reading lists.

NOTE: If you don’t have a blog and want to participate, that’s fine. You don’t have to have a blog, just post in the comments section as you finish books.  If you belong to a site like Goodreads and review the books there, that’s fine too.  Just leave us the link.  I also have a group for this challenge on Goodreads and you can sign up by clicking here.

6. Take the button above, put it on your blog and post about the challenge. Then add your name to Mr. Linky below. Please use the link of your challenge post, not the link to your home page.

7.  I’m going to have one link for signing up, one link for completed reviews and one link for your wrap up posts.  I won’t be having a monthly link, just one for all reviews read for this challenge.

Yay!  This is definitely one of my favorite reading challenges of every year as I absolutely LOVE all of my cozy series . . . especially many of the new ones that are coming out! 

I’m jumping right on the:

LEVEL 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 20 or more

Can’t wait to consume many cozies this year!

And remember,

Books Are Life,



Filed under Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Reading Challenges

Book Review – “Red Tape” by Michele Lynn Seigfried

redtapeTitle:  Red Tape

Author:  Michele Lynn Seigfried

Synopsis (from Amazon.com):

In this captivating tale of crime, government corruption and mystery, Municipal Clerk Chelsey Alton gets more than she bargained for when she encounters an irate resident and loose cannon, Robert Triggers. Triggers has been harassing the employees in the small, Jersey shore town where she works and he becomes the prime suspect when multiple attempts to sabotage the municipal building are made. Chelsey begins to piece it all together and finds herself framed for a crime she did not commit. She narrowly escapes several attempts at her demise, only to find herself in a much more precarious situation. Will she make it out alive or end up a tragic victim at the hands of a madman?
My thoughts:  I am happy to be providing a review for this book for the book tour sponsored by Cozy Mystery Book Tours.
I must say that I really enjoyed this book.  First of all as a frequent reader of cozy mysteries, I found the premise of having the main character be a Municipal Town Clerk rather interesting.  Believe me, I know very little if anything about city government and definitely learned a lot of it in this mystery.
I found the main characters and the secondary characters likeable, charming, and always a good sign is that I want to know more about them!!!  (Hint, hint, when is book 2 coming out? 🙂
The plot keeps moving right along as you learn more about the lives of the characters and the life within this small Jersey town.
The only thing that I found a bit jarring as a reader, and perhaps this is because it is a first time author, is some awkwardness in transitions between chapters and transitions in time.  What I mean by this is I found myself happily reading along and all of a sudden we were in a different time or a couple days ahead of where we just were.  The way in which these transitions were handled simply lacked a bit of fluidity to make it less jarring on the reader.
I look forward to learning more about these characters.  I am hopeful there will be future books in this series.
And remember,
Books Are Life,


Filed under Book Reviews, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction

Book Review – “Too Big To Miss” by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey #1)

toobigtomiss  Title:  Too Big to Miss

Author:  Sue Ann Jaffarian

Series:  Odelia Grey Mystery #1

Publisher:  Midnight Ink


Synopsis (from BN.com):

Too big to miss–that’s Odelia Grey. A never-married, middle-aged, plus-sized woman who makes no excuses for her weight, she’s not super woman just a mere mortal standing on the precipice of menopause, trying to cruise in an ill-fitting bra. She struggles with her relationships, her crazy family, and her crazier boss. And then there”s her knack for being in close proximity to dead people . . . .

When her close friend Sophie London commits suicide in front of an online web-cam by putting a gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger, Odelia’s life is changed forever. Sophie, a plus-sized activist and inspiration to imperfect women, is the last person anyone would ever have expected to end her own life. Suspecting foul play, Odelia is determined to get to the bottom of her friend’s death. Odelia’s search for the truth takes her from southern California strip malls to the world of live web-cam porn to the ritzy enclave of Corona del Mar.


My thoughts:   I consider myself rather knowledgable about the Cozy Mystery genre and I can’t believe I have never heard of or read this particular series before!  Where has this series been all my life? 🙂  I absolutely loved this first book in the Odelia Grey mystery series.  Meet Odelia Grey, a middle-aged, single, big & beautiful paralegal who finds herself involved in the mystery of solving the murder of one of her best friends Sophie London.

This book was absolutely hilarious at times.  I mean, burst out laughing as you are reading it alone in a room, funny!  In this respect, I found it similar to Lois Winston’s character, Anastasia Pollack, in her crafting mystery series.  Odelia is a proud plus-sized woman and wonderfully and hilariously describes it to the readers!  I loved it!  I found Odelia and her friends charming, warm, real, and loveable characters.    We all know it is fiction for a reason, but I found the mystery solving part of the book a bit more realistic and intriquing than frankly some of the cheesy mystery-solving in other cozies.

I am so glad I  ran into this series accidentally on my last trip through the stacks at my local libary.  In fact, I went right back this weekend and checked out the remaining 5 books in the series.  I can’t wait to see how these characters develop and what fun they get into next.

And remember,

Books Are Life,



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Book Review – “A Purse to Die For” by Melodie Campbell

apursetodieforTitle:  A Purse to Die For

Author:  Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre

Publisher:  Imajin Books (available Amazon.com Kindle store only)


Synopsis (from amazon.com):  What’s more treacherous than navigating a pack of society matrons at a designer

Stalking a killer…

When fashionista and television celeb
Gina Monroe goes home to attend the funeral of her late grandmother, the last
thing she expects to encounter is murder. And the reading of the will is
anything but fashionable as unanswered questions arise. Who is the dead woman in
the woods behind the family house? And why is she dressed in Milano designer

With help from her cousin Tony and Detective Rob Dumont, Gina
investigates the not-so-model citizens around her. When another murder occurs, a
pattern slowly emerges and Gina wonders if her grandmother’s death wasn’t so
natural after all.

My thoughts:  Well, this was one of my ever famous freebie finds on amazon.com!  I am always looking for freebies that I can read on my iPad while working out.   What can I say about this book . . . I really wanted to like it, but in the end I have to say it just wasn’t good.

The title was rather deceiving in that I really thought it was going to fall safely in the cozy genre that I so like to read, I pictured handbags, purses, or other fashion playing a huge role in the overall mystery.  Forget about that idea, yes there was one small part that had to do with a clue with a purse, but that was it.

The book actually started out pretty good.  The characters were introduced and the reader was presented with a death of a family member that may not be what it seems.  Unfortunately it was all down hill from there.  The character development was quite poor and rather confusing I must say.  There ended up to be so many characters who really never got developed in any meaningful way that I forgot who everyone was and what role they played in the story.  Ultimately I found that many simply didn’t have a huge role in the story, not sure why they were there.

The ending was horrible I thought.  I actually found myself in the gym swiping across my iPad screen to continue reading having no idea that the book was actually finished.  It just ended.  What, that is all, was that the ending?

I am certainly not a writer and couldn’t do any better, but given that I have read many, many cozy mysteries in my time, I just got the overall feeling that these authors were trying to break into this genre – but they clearly missed the mark with this one.

Overall, poor character development, a bad ending, a confusing storyline that never really came together for many of the characters.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  And I am very glad I didn’t pay the $3.99 on Kindle for it.

And remember,

Books Are Life,



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Book Review – “Shades of Earl Grey” by Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mystery #3)

shades of earl grey  Title:  Shades of Earl Grey

Author:  Laura Childs

Series:  Tea Shop Mystery #3

Publisher:  Penguin Group


Synopsis (from bn.com):

Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is finally invited to a social event that she doesn’t have to cater—but there’s more than champagne bubbling…

Theo is mingling with the cream of Charleston society at the engagement soiree of the season. But as they eagerly await the dazzling young couple’s arrival—the groom meets with a freak accident. The exquisite wedding ring—a family heirloom from the crown of Marie Antoinette—is mysteriously missing. Theodosia suspects that trouble is brewing. But when she goes to the authorities, they treat her like she’s been reading tea leaves—and that’s the surest way to put Theodosia’s kettle on the boil…


My thoughts:  Theodosia, owner of the charming Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, returns with her wonderful cast of characters to solve another murder.   I enjoy the characters in this series as they are genuine, fun, and each in their own way a bit quirky.  I am hoping that as I continue to series I find that the author gives us even a bit more inight and knowledge into who these characters are.  I’m sure she does as this is only book #3 out of 13.  (Like any good reader who is behind with a series, I pull out my Little Engine That Could – I know I can reach the end of this series, I know I can reach the end of this series 🙂

All in all, I really am enjoying this series.  I still am trying to find a good tea tasting in my area as the ever loving Drayton in this series is just spurring me on to go to one!

A lovely cozy series with fun characters and great education about tea!

And remember,

Books Are Life,



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Filed under Book Reviews, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Laura Childs

Book Review – “Gunpowder Green” by Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mystery #2)

gunpowdergreen  Title:  Gunpowder Green

Author:  Laura Childs

Series:  Tea Shop Mystery #2

Publisher:  Penguin


Synopsis (from bn.com):

Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning knows that something’s brewing in the high society of Charleston—something other than her newest tea…

The Indigo Tea Shop, Charleston’s favorite spot of tea, has just come out with its latest flavor: Gunpowder Green. Theodosia Browning cannot wait to hear its praises as it is unveiled at the annual yacht race. But when she hears the crack of an antique gun meant to end the race, a member of Charleston’s elite falls dead. Theodosia has a hunch that his demise was no accident—and will go out of her way to prove it. But if she doesn’t act fast, Theo will find herself in hot water with some boiling-mad Charlestonians—and more than a little gun-chai…


My thoughts:  I picked up this Tea Shop Mystery Series completely by fluke over the Christmas season.  I planned on just reading one here and there in between some of my other reads (off of my huge To Be Read pile – oh you readers, know what I am talking about, don’t deny it, you have one too :)), but I know find that I am really enjoying the series.

Gunpowder Green marks the 2nd book in the series.  Theodosia, owner of the quaint Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, returns with her wonderful cast of characters including Haley, Drayton, and many others.  I really enjoy the characters in this series.  They are warm, welcoming, and hilarious at times.

I recommend this series if you are looking for a quick mystery read and along the way, you may learn quite a bit about tea as well!

On to #3, “Shades of Earl Grey”!

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Book Review – “Death by Darjeeling” by Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mystery #1)

death by darjeeling  Title:  Death by Darjeeling

Author:  Laura Childs

Series:  The Tea Shop Mystery #1

Publisher:  Penguin Books


Synopsis (from book cover):  Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston’s beloved Indigo Tea Shop.  Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and Southern hospitality.  And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flovor of a town steeped in history and mystery . . .

It’s tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party.  And Theodosia, as event caterer, is bussy serving steaming teas and blackberry scones while guests sing her praises.  but the sweet smell of success turnes to sspense when an esteemed gues is found dead – his hand clutching an empty teacup.  All eyes are on Theo . . . who is now trying desperately to save her repuation and track down the real killer.  If only she can make sense of it all – before someone else takes their last sip …

My thoughts:  In Death by Darjeeling, the first installment of Laura Child’s bestselling Tea Mystery Series, we meet Theoedosia Browning, owner of the quaint Indigo Tea Shop.   This is an older cozy mystery series, that I have finally gotten around to working my way through – and I am certainly glad that I did.

I really enjoyed this book.  The characters were wonderful, the setting very inviting, and I want to read more, which is always good!  I, myself, am not a huge tea drinker, but this series has really piqued my interest in the whole world of tea.  Even though it is a simply, fun mystery, it really educated me quite a bit about the tea world  – where it is grown, how to properly steep the tea, different kinds of tea.  It has made me want to find a great Tea Tasting in my community.

Overall, a fun read in a great series!  I have already started book #2 “Gunpowder Green”.

And remember

Books Are Life,



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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,





Filed under Book Reviews, Cleo Coyle, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Mystery