Archive for the 'Cozy Mysteries' Category


Leslie Meier’s – French Pastry Murder

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

French Pastry

Lucy Stone is saying “Au revoir!” to Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and “Bonjour!” to Paris to take in the sights, learn how to bake authentic French pastries, and experience some joie de vivre. But her dreams of la vie en rose are put on hold when the City of Lights turns deadly. . .

Tinker’s Cove is abuzz with excitement when Norah, the queen of daytime TV, comes to town and selects Lucy and her pals to be featured in her “Women Who Make a Difference” episode. In recognition for their charitable work, the ladies and their husbands are awarded a dream vacation in Paris, complete with classes at Le Cooking School with renowned pastry chef Larry Bruneau. But their bon voyage is cut short when Lucy discovers the chef in a pool of blood on the second day of class. . .

Lucy always dreamed of visiting Paris, but with Chef Larry on death’s doorstep and Lucy and her friends detained for questioning, she’s worried she’ll be trading in her luxury accommodations for a sojourn in the bastille. If she’s going to enjoy her vacation, she’ll have to unpack her sleuthing skills and clear her name.

Lucy’s search for the truth takes her from the towers of Notre Dame to the gardens of Versailles and a dozen charming bistros in between. But will she be able to track down a killer more elusive than the perfect macaron?

My Comments: The Lucy Stone books are some of my very favorite cozy mysteries. This book took us out of  the now familiar Tinker Cove Maine and into Paris, France – totally engaging! Elizabeth, the Stone’s eldest daughter was the star child and we heard very little about the two girls at home and Toby and his family, so that in itself was kind of different and refreshing. The mystery truly kept me guessing until the end (I like that!) Lucy Stone is such a down-to-earth all American mom and wife, so it is easy to relate to her. She loves her family – they always come first. Her husband is very typical and likable!

Although not “Christian” fiction, I don’t think there is anything offensive in these books to Christians. They are clean and family friendly. I have read all 21 books now and will continue to read them. They are very entertaining and engaging.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Cozy Mystery Writer Leslie Meier’s “Christmas Carol Murder”

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

christmas carol mystery

It’s Christmas in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and Lucy Stone is excited about her acting debut in the town’s production of A Christmas Carol. But a real life Scrooge has everyone feeling frosty, and with a murderer on the loose, Lucy will have to unwrap her sleuthing skills faster than she can say, “Bah! Humbug!”

Lucy normally loves planning for the holidays, but this year, Tinker’s Cove has fallen on hard times. With so many residents struggling to make ends meet, Christmas festivities are a luxury some can’t afford. But the story’s not so bleak at Downeast Mortgage, whose tightfisted owners, Jake Marlowe and Ben Scribner, are raking in profits from everyone’s misfortune. Half the town is in their debt, so when the miserly Marlowe is murdered, the mourners are few and the suspects are many. . .

It’s hard to feel merry amidst all the yuletide chaos. Between her reporting duties at the Pennysaver and nightly rehearsals for the Christmas play, Lucy hardly has time to search for a killer–especially one whose victim left behind so many possible culprits. Scribner believes Marlowe’s ghost has come to warn him of his own impending demise, and when he starts receiving death threats, Lucy wonders if there’s more to the omen than the ravings of a bitter old pinchpenny. . .

Can Lucy solve the case and deck the halls before the killer strikes again? In a season of giving, receiving a deadly Christmas present is definitely not what Lucy had on her wish list this year. . .

My Comments:  I love these Lucy Stone mysteries by Leslie Meier.  This one is no exception.  The story intertwines with “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens in a cute way.  Lucy lives a normal, regular life in Maine with husband Bill and now two daughters at home, Sara and Zoe.  We’ve read as each child has grown up and in her son’s case started a family of his own.  Lucy is a reporter for the small town newspaper, The Pennysaver.  The economy has hit hard in their small town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine.  Houses were being foreclosed, people were laid off one by one, and on top of all of that – a murder to solve and Lucy can’t leave that alone.

A Plain Scandal by Amanda Flowers

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The people of Appleseed Creek in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country are under attack. Soon after the dust has settled on a buggy accident that turned out to be murder, an unknown assailant begins cutting off the long hair of Amish women and the beards of Amish men.

New to the area, computer specialist Chloe Humphrey may not share their customs, but she is certainly alarmed over these crimes against the Amish and worries how such events will impact her growing number of friends who are more connected to that way of life.
In this small community, when Chloe discovers the body of an Amish businessman who was stabbed in the back and whose beard was cut off, she knows that finding the murderer and restoring peace to Appleseed Creek is as much her responsibility as anyone else’s.
My comments:  I enjoyed this book, however, I didn’t like it as much as the first book, A Plain Death.  The characters were almost the same although no unique characters were included this time, except a paragraph or so about a young man in a wheelchair.  There was also a character with some mental illness issues.   The mystery aspect was interesting but not riveting.  I would like to see Ms. Flowers develop the story line between Chloe and her father and stepmother.  I would also like to see a more development between Grandfather Zook and his son-in-law.  I have questions about what is going on with those two and their relationship.  I will definitely keep reading this series  I am routing for Chloe!
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

How Often are the Amish Murdered?

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Material Witness by Vannetta Chapman

About the Book:

Tragedy strikes on the opening night of the Fall Crafters Fair when a woman is killed in the parking lot of Daisy’s Quilt Shop, and the only material witness is one of Melinda Byer’s boys. The investigation takes a more bizarre turn when detective Shane Black becomes convinced the killer was actually after Callie. This time it’s a madman loose in the largest crowd of the year, and he’s looking for something or someone. If they can’t figure out what, one of Deborah and Callie’s close circle of friends may be next. Masked identities, antique quilts with hidden messages, an Amish boy whose handicap makes him stronger, one brave dog, and a possible hidden treasure … this time it’s nonstop action, danger, and a dash of romance.
Tragedy strikes on the opening night of the Fall Crafters Fair when a woman is killed in the parking lot of Daisy’s Quilt Shop, and the only material witness is one of Melinda Byer’s boys. The investigation takes a more bizarre turn when detective Shane Black becomes convinced the killer was actually after Callie. This time it’s a madman loose in the largest crowd of the year, and he’s looking for something or someone. If they can’t figure out what, one of Deborah and Callie’s close circle of friends may be next. Masked identities, antique quilts with hidden messages, an Amish boy whose handicap makes him stronger, one brave dog, and a possible hidden treasure … this time it’s nonstop action, danger, and a dash of romance.
My Opinion:  This book was the third in a series and I only read the first one so I noticed a gap in information.  The book begins with a murder and the rest of the book is spent finding the murderer.  There were many tense moments.  This book does a good job mixing the Englisch and Amish groups.  The groups worked well problem solving.  I had times while reading this book that I had trouble focusing – I was not completely engaged throughout.  I wish I had read the second book – I might have been more engaged.  I didn’t feel as invested in the story or characters as I would have liked.  I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The story was good, the issues were relevant, the characters were likeable, however it is not a real good stand alone story.
I received this book from NetGalley – opinions are my own.

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

 

About the book:

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.

My Comments:  First of all, I love the cover!  It portrays such a blistering, outdoorsy feeling, and goes so well with the story.

Libby thought her father died when she was five, but the truth was, he had just died a month or so ago.  What a shock!  Libby found out while checking out old buildings to restore on an island that she had a brother and sister she knew nothing about!  She also found out her mother had been lying to her for years.  She finds out all of this through her business partner and bff, Nicole.  While Nicole set up a video for Libby to see her sister, Nicole was abducted and kidnapped.  The story plays out the search for Nicole and Libby dealing with her newfound family.  We are reintroduced to some of Coble’s characters from former books (The Rock Harbor series).  I love this!  Those were some of my favorite books.  You will have to read this book for yourself to find out if they find Nicole and to meet Libby’s new family.  You may have some surprises in store!  I look forward to more books in this series!

This book is released on July 17, 2012.  I received a review copy from NETGALLEY.  Thanks!

 

A Plain Death by Amanda Flower – GIVEAWAY!!!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

This is the second book I’ve read by Amanda Flower and I am hooked!  It has my favorite elements of Amish and cozy mystery.

Welcome to Appleseed Creek, the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, where life is not as serene as it seems.While her Cleveland friends relocated to Southern California and Italy, 24-year-old computer whiz Chloe Humphrey moves with some uncertainty to Appleseed Creek to direct technology services at a nearby college. Her first acquaintance is Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home.While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish elder. But what looks like an accident is soon labeled murder when police discover the car’s cut brake line.Now, Chloe must take on the role of amateur sleuth to discover who the real intended victim was before the murderer makes a second attempt. Becky’s handsome Amish-turned-Mennonite brother, Timothy, a local carpenter, comes in handy along the way. With God’s help, they’ll solve the mystery that’s rocking this small community.My Comments:  Loved, loved, loved this book!  The story left me with lots of questions (ready for a sequel?) that I care about.  The characters engaged me pretty much from the beginning.  I love that Ms. Flower doesn’t have perfect characters.  She usually has a character in a wheel chair, several of the characters surprised me at one point or another in the book – not totally predictable, which I like.  I read this book in a weekend – even though there were over 300 pages.  I want to more of Chloe’s background – which up to now has been kind of secretive; I want to know what is going on between Becky and Aaron, and I want to know what the future holds for the Amish in Appleseed Creek, along with Ms. Chloe.This book will be released July 1, 2012.  I HAVE ONE COPY TO GIVE AWAY!  Please leave a sentence comment on why you would like to have this book and you just might get it!!!!  You will have until June 30, 2012 to get your entry in!

 

Murder in a Basket by Amanda Flower

Friday, January 6th, 2012

College librarian and struggling artist India Hayes isn’t sure how her older sister Carmen talked her into managing a face-painting booth at the Stripling, Ohio, Founders’ Day Festival or how Carmen convinced her to wear the pink gingham pioneer dress, including mobcap and granny boots, but that’s where she finds herself in a chilly October just before Halloween. India’s annoyance turns to suspicion as she discovers the body of Zen-like basket weaver, Tess Ross, on the festival grounds. Tess leaves behind an angry blacksmith husband, a confused adopted son, greedy siblings, a dysfunctional artists’ co-op, and a chocolate-colored labradoodle with a two-million-dollar trust in his name. Much to India’s dismay, she learns Tess is the sister of her stuffy college provost, Samuel Lepcheck, and the mother of a library student worker, Derek, who has an irrepressible crush on India that she’s doing her best to ignore. Derek begs India to investigate his mother’s murder. Despite the urgings of handsome Police Detective Rick Mains to stay out of the investigation, India agrees to Derek’s request and finds herself playing sleuth as well as foster-owner to Zacchaeus, the two-million-dollar labradoodle. With her own eccentric family commenting from the sidelines and her Irish-centric landlady, Ina Carroll, as volunteer sidekick, India must discover the truth before she has a permanent canine houseguest or she ends up the next victim in the basket weaver’s murder.

My Comments: India Hayes ranks right up there as one of my favorite new detectives in a cozy mystery.  Her family makes me smile!  I love it that her mom is a pastor and her dad is in a wheelchair – real people!  Her parents, middle aged hippies, get involved in all the local “causes.”  The women in this family are strong – including India’s sister Carmen.  There is a book that comes before this and I’m anxious to read it as well.  The book ends with a great cliff-hanger making me want more, more, more.  If you like books by Leslie Meier and Joanne Fluke, you will love this book!

 

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

 

Gracious living can be murder. First in an all-new mystery series— includes delicious recipes and great tips on entertaining!

Few can compete with Natasha Smith when it comes to entertaining, but her childhood rival, Sophie Winston, certainly tries. Natasha may have stolen the spotlight—and Sophie’s husband—but Sophie is determined to rob her of the prize for the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. She just needs the right ingredient.

But Sophie’s search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse. And when the police find her name and photo inside the victim’s car, Sophie will have to set her trussing aside to solve the murder—or she’ll be serving up prison grub.

But Sophie’s search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse. And when the police find her name and photo inside the victim’s car, Sophie will have to set her trussing aside to solve the murder—or she’ll be serving up prison grub.

My Comments: I’m enjoying this series by Krista Davis.  This particular book I downloaded on my Nook and read fairly quickly.  I love the main character Sophie and it interests me to wonder if the author is trying to get her back with her husband who she divorced a couple of years ago.  It seems that her mother and mother-in-law want them back together.  I also love a woman who has to solve a mystery.  This book makes me laugh and definitely engages my interest.  Natasha seems to want everything Sophie has and vice versa – a real rivalry exists between them

To Have and To Kill by Mary Jane Clark

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Piper Donovan never imagined that decorating wedding cakes could be so dangerous! A struggling actress with no immediate prospects and a recently broken engagement, Piper moves back in with her parents to take stock of her life. She steps tentatively into the family bakery business, and finds herself agreeing to create the wedding cake for the acclaimed star of a daytime television drama. But soon, someone close to the bride-to-be is horribly murdered and it seems that somebody is ruthlessly determined to stop the wedding.

With the help of her former neighbor, Jack, a handsome FBI agent with a soft spot for the gorgeous cake-maker, Piper moves closer to the truth. As she narrows in on a suspect, Piper realizes that it’s hotter in the kitchen than she may be able to handle.

Like Piper Donovan, New York Times Bestselling author Mary Jane Clark has a mother who made customized cakes for the neighborhood kids when Mary Jane was growing up. After writing 12 media thrillers and a career at CBS News, the author is currently taking cake decorating classes herself, having fun as she works on her baking skills, and concocting her next novel.

My Comments: I enjoyed this nice, cozy mystery!  Piper is a nice, family girl who wants to be an actress and actually receives occasional roles.  She lives with her mom and dad for now.  Her parents have their own issues to contend with.

The story moves along well.  Piper receives an old role back temporarily, and while she is involved at an auction put on by her co-workers’ daughter’s school, someone is murdered.  The author gave several potential suspects and I liked guessing which one actually committed the crime!  The characters are a little quirky and fun, especially Piper’s dad.  I know people like him – or at least people that would like to BE like him – a little fanatical about safety.  I like someone who bakes as the main character and part of the setting actually being in a bakery.

Hopefully this is the first of many more books in a series to come by Mary Jane Clark.

Thank you NetGalley for the galley of this book.  To Have and to Kill was published the end of December 2010.  I’ve seen it in bookstores.


Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

With a new First Family, White House executive chef Olivia Paras can’t afford to make any mistakes. But when a box of take-out chicken mysteriously shows up for the First Kids, she soon finds herself in a “no-wing” situation. After Olivia refuses to serve the chicken, the First Lady gives her the cold shoulder. But when it turns out to be poisoned poultry, Olivia realizes the kids are true targets.

My comments: This was the perfect book for me to read after the holidays.  The setting takes place in Washington, D.C. in January.  A new administration is put into place and there are many other “new” goings on.  I read the book in just about one day – it was hard to put down.  I never read any of the books in this series before, but I loved another book by the author, Grace Under Pressure.  These are the type of cozy? mysteries I enjoy.  I am looking forward to going back and reading some more books in this series.  Even though I hadn’t read any of the others, I had no problem reading this, and I would consider it a good “stand alone” book.

This book is slated to be released on January 4, 2011 and is published by Berkley Prime Crime.