Tag Archives: Cozy Mystery

2016 Reading Challenge time: Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge

January 1 marks the time to choose my reading challenges for the year.  Needless to say given my love of all things cozy I’m joining this challenge once again.  I’m feeling hopeful this year and am entering at the level of:

Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books

Time to get reading!  Have fun all!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

Welcome to the sixth annual Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge! Six years later and I’m still loving those cozies! I hope you’ll join me in this challenge.

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 13-20 books

Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books

2. The challenge runs from January 1, 2016 and ends December 31, 2016.

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. If you do have a blog, 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.

Have fun!

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Book Review – “The Diva Haunts the House” by Krista Davis

divahauntsthehouse  Title:  The Diva Haunts the House

Author:  Krista Davis

Series:  Domestic Diva Mystery #5

Publisher:  Penguin

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Domestic diva Sophie Winston is getting into the Halloween spirit- her decorations for a community haunted house are so good, it’s scary. Not to be outdone, rival domestic diva Natasha is throwing a spooktacular Halloween party at her house. But when Sophie arrives, she discovers one of Natasha’s guests dead in a Halloween display, and a pale, fanged partygoer fleeing the scene.

Could the killer be a real vampire-the same one rumored to have lived in Sophie’s haunted house back when it was a boardinghouse? Good thing a domestic diva never runs out of garlic.

 

My thoughts:  Well “The Diva Haunts the House” brings us to the 5th installment in the Dometic Diva Mystery series.  Overall, I like this book in the series, but it wasn’t my favorite.  I just can’t point to exactly what in this series makes it not as engaging to me as other cozy mystery stories.  I just can’t put my finger on it.  I have a love/hate relationship with this series – love one, the next is only ok, love the next one, then the next one falls flat.

This is one that fell a bit flat for me.  It just seemed a bit slow and I found myself dragging it out – maybe because it was a story set at Halloween and I was trying to read it as spring is struggling to come out in the Chicago area 🙂   The characters are good, yet not great.  The plot is good, yet not great.  I think you get where I am going with this.   I wish the author would focus more on the caddy, yet funny relationship between Sophie and Natasha.  It is still there, but in this book and a couple of others Natasha seems to really have taken a back seat, and let’s be real she is the character we all love to hate!

Overall, an ok read.  I have one book left to finish up this series before a new one come out . . . but I think it is time for me to take a break from the Diva for a while!

 

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review – “The Curse of the Holy Pail” by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey #2)

curseofholypail  Title:  The Curse of the Holy Pail

Author:  Sue Ann Jaffarian

Series:  Odelia Grey #2

Publisher:  Midnight Ink

 

Synopsis (bn.com): Is the “Holy Pail” cursed? Every owner of the vintage Chappy Wheeler lunchbox–a prototype based on the 1940s TV western–has died. And now Sterling Price, business tycoon and a client of Odelia Grey’s law firm, has been fatally poisoned. Is it a coincidence that Price’s one-of-a-kind lunch pail–worth over thirty grand–has disappeared at the same time?

Treading cautiously since a recent run-in with a bullet, Odelia takes small bites of this juicy, calorie-free mystery–and is soon ravenous for more! Her research reveals a sixty-year-old unsolved murder and Price’s gold-digging ex-fiancée with two married men wrapped around her breasts . . . uh, finger. Mix in a surprise marriage proposal that sends an uncertain Odelia into chocolate sedation, and you’ve got an unruly recipe for delicious disaster.

 

My thoughts:  This is the second installment in the Odelia Grey series.  I do enjoy this series as I particularly enjoy the main character, somewhat chubby, paralegal Odelia Grey who finds herself somehow surrounded by a dead body no matter how much she just wants to stay out of trouble.   I must say I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first in the series – it just wasn’t as hilarious as the first and the overall topic of a “cursed” lunch pail was just a bit odd to me.   tThis book didn’t hold my interest like the first, but I will continue with the series to see how it goes.

Overall, a fun, light cozy read with a loveable main character.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review – “Book, Line, and Sinker” by Jenn McKinlay (Library Lover’s #3)

booklinesinker  Title:  Book, Line, and Sinker

Author:  Jenn McKinlay

Series:  Library Lover’s Mystery #3

Publisher:  Penguin

 

Synopsis (from bn.com): “Avast” in pirate speak means what?*
Answering tricky reference questions like this one provides plenty of excitement for library director Lindsey Norris. But when a shocking murder is committed in her cozy coastal town of Briar Creek, Connecticut, the question of who did it must be answered before an innocent man gets the book thrown at him…   Lindsey is enjoying her second year in Briar Creek as the library director, meeting with the crafternoon club, and happily dating tour boat captain Mike Sullivan. But when a salvage company arrives in town to dig up treasure buried on Pirate Island over three hundred years ago, the locals are torn between protecting the island and welcoming the publicity.    In spite of the squabbling, Charlie Peyton, Lindsey’s downstairs neighbor, takes a job with the salvage company. But when Trudi Hargrave, the local tourism director who hired the company, is found murdered at the excavation site, Charlie becomes the chief suspect. To help him, Lindsey must do some digging of her own before the real killer buries the truth for good

 

My thoughts:  Book, Line, and Sinker brings us to the third installment of the Library Lover’s Mystery series.  Let go from her job as an archivist at Yale, Lindsey Norris finds herself the Library Director in the small town of Briar Creek, CT!

I do enjoy this series.  It offers many of the features of a good cozy mystery – charming, likeable characters; a quaint, cozy setting; an independent female character who all of a sudden decides she is Sherlock Holmes; budding romance; . . .

I must admit that I enjoy Jenn McKinlay’s Cupcake Bakery series a bit more.  There is something about this series that doesn’t hook me like other series I read.  I find it a bit odd that in the last two books, the actual murder part of the mystery doesn’t happen until about 1/3 of the way through the book.  This doesn’t so much build suspense for me as it does just make me want to get to the murder already.

Overall, an enjoyable read.  Quick, easy, and light with some likeable characters and some questions at the end which make you of course want to pick up the next book in the series . . .  “Read It and Weep”.

 

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review – “Due or Die” by Jenn McKinlay (Library Lover’s #2)

dueordie  Title:  Due or Die

Author:  Jenn McKinlay

Publisher:  Penguin

Series:  Library Lover’s Mystery #2

 

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Answering tricky reference questions is excitement enough for library director Lindsey Norris. Until a murder is committed in her cozy hometown of Briar Creek, Connecticut, and the question of who did it must be answered before someone else is checked out—for good.

 

My thoughts:  This is the second book in the Library Lover’s Mystery series.  I must say that I do enjoy this series.  I find the characters charming, warm, and inviting and the storylines fun!  This particular book truly puts the cozy in the “cozy mystery” in that it is set in the middle of a snowstorm.  It just invites you to tuck in under your favorite blankie, grab your favorite hot beverage and enjoy the read!

One thing I did find odd about this book was that it really didn’t focus on finding the killer until well after half the book was finished.  The first half of the book if not a bit more really served as dialogue between the characters.  I assume this was the author’s way of letting us get to know the characters better as the series continues.  It just felt a bit different especially for a book in the mystery genre.

I am not sure if I like this Library Lover’s series of Jenn McKinlay or her Cupcake bakery books better!  Time will tell.

Overall, an enjoyable, light read with fun, cozy characters!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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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,

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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