Definitely a one sitting book; quick but thoroughly entertaining. This series grips you, not just the mystery, the bond between Lara and Aunt Fran. This series starts off as feel good coming of age/coming home again story. It is so great to see Lara with her roots planted and relationships made.
In this installment, a health inspector shows up at the house/cat shelter just when they are finishing up on the remodel. Because they offer potential adopters beverages and snacks, the inspector deems them to be a “cafe” and unsanitary. When the said inspector is found dead the next morning, Lara and Aunt Fran are the primary suspects. With everything to lose, Lara sets off to solve the case.
What I always enjoy about the books in this series, there are secondary mysteries to solve too. There are many with secrets in the small town, and some will do whatever they have to for them to stay hidden. Things are definitely not what they seem.
In the remodel of the house/shelter, Lara has a reading room set up for children to come and read to the cats. I adore this idea and am very thankful that more rescues are starting to participate in activities like this.
There were a few small cliffhangers in this book; wedding plans, budding romances, etc. I cannot wait for more from Whisker Jog!!
I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I cannot say enough about this series. It is sweet with a slight romantic element, family oriented, female empowering and of course, MURDER!!
Lilly has put her past behind her and started a new life in Chattanooga. With the help of her best friend, Dixie, she is settling in well in her new surrounding. Looking to purchase a new home and doing well at her job, everything seems to be falling into place.
In this installments of the series, Lilly is helping Dixie out at Dog Show. While there, she meets the owner of Pet Haven, a posh doggie daycare and boarding facility. A last-minute opportunity arises to accompany her boss to an art auction, so Lilly decides to leave Aggie in the hands of Pet Haven. While watching the live feed of the facility to check in on Aggie, Lilly witnesses something that she surely believes is a murder in progress. Upon investigation, there is no crime scene and no body. Lilly, determined not to be deemed crazy, sets off to find out what happened and to whom.
What I love most about this series is that the protagonist, Lilly, is a middle aged woman with real life problems that we can relate to. She does her investigating but unlike many mystery protagonists, she doesn’t throw herself into extremely dangerous situations. In my opinion, these would be realistic if it was realistic for middle aged women to go around solving crimes.
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I highly recommend this series, and cannot wait for an announcement on book 4.
Southern Charm on the Carolina Beach, sweet tea, boardwalks, tourist shops, and murder, what’s not to love??? Throw in Christmas, well I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing that makes it!! My favorite thing about this installment was the sense of community, charity, family, and love that is shown. There is nothing more heart warming than coming together as a whole to help those less fortunate.
In A Seaside Cafe Mystery Series, Everly Swan moves home to small town Charm, North Carolina where she opens her dream tea shop, Sun, Sand, and Tea.
She has been under the microscope since moving back to Charm. The Swan women of the island are said to be cursed in love; falling in love and losing their mate at a young age. Swan women don’t leave the island either. Well, Everly did and returned after suffering at love but since she has been back, death has followed in her wake. Since her return, the easy life of Charm has seen one too many murders, and the town is starting to think there is something to this curse of the Swans. With an amazing core cast (the eccentric aunts, handsome detective Grady, and the best bestie Amelia), Everly has the support team she needs to run her dream business and solve murders.
In this installment, It’s Aunt Fran that finds herself in the police investigation after finding the body of the mayor, whom she is running against in the next race. Everyone knows that Aunt Fran is not capable of committing murder but someone is going out of their way to make it look like she did. I had my suspicions from dooms day of whom the killer may be. Turns out, I was correct but finding out the why was a shock.
I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley. I am so thankful and yet so disappointed that I got to read it early…. now I have to wait longer for BOOK 4!!!!!
This has quickly moved up to the top of my list of favorite series. Julie Anne Lindsey is an absolute doll and a very talented, humble and gracious author. She writes several other series. You can find her under the names Julie Anne Lindsey, Bree Baker, Julie Chase, and another one of my favorites, Jacqueline Frost. Psssssss….. she has a first book in a new cozy series set to release in November. Be on the look out for the release and a review from me for Apple Cider Slaying, book one of the Cider Shop Mysteries.
Please visit her website to keep up with all of Julie’s books.
Southern Sass and Killer Cravings, book 1 of the Marygene Brown Series, is not only the first in an amazing series, but the first Cozy Mystery by Kate Young. I am blown away. Kate Young hit a Grand Slam with this book (homage to the Braves references throughout the book).
Marygene Brown leaves her abusive relationship in Atlanta to return back her hometown of Peach Cove, a small island town of Southern Georgia. Marygene’s plan is to join forces with her sister, Jena Lynn, and run the beloved Peach Diner, passed down by generations of family. What Marygene did not plan on, was a regular customer dying in the restaurant and her sister being lead off in handcuffs. She also didn’t bargain for having her mama show up to guide her through it all. Did I mention mama is dead??
With the help of her mama and others in town, Marygene sets out to prove her sister’s innocence and find out what is going on in her small town. Can she find the killer before the killer finds her?
The character development, setting description, and story line are phenomenal. I instantly fell in love with the characters. There were moments of shock, laughter, intrigue, and emotion throughout the entire book. The mystery was great, I did have my suspicions of the killer from the get go but the road getting there was worth the trip. I laughed many times at the shenanigans of Marygene and Betsy. And somehow, Kate Young adds in the emotional issues of domestic violence. Marygene Brown is one of the strongest Protagonists I have seen in long time.
I cannot wait to continue my journey with Marygene and the Peach Cove Gang.
I read the digital copy awarded to me by NetGalley as well as the audio version of the book. The narrator, Tiffany Morgan, does a fantastic job.
INTERVIEW WITH KATE YOUNG
1. After writing paranormal fantasies, what made you decide to dive into the Cozy Mystery genre? Will you continue to write in other genres?
Mysteries have become my favorite genre to read. I love everything from cozies to heart pounding thrillers. I decided a couple of years ago to try my hand at writing one. I had to learn to write differently. Panster style wouldn’t work in this genre. I took several classes offered through Sisters in Crime and learned that writing a mystery took skill. A skill I had to learn and am still learning. I have great respect for long term writers in the genre. The plan right now is to focus on writing more mysteries.
2. They say write what you know. Being from a small town in Georgia, is Peach Cove based on a real town?
The inspiration for Peach Cove came from both Savannah and Seaside, Florida. The quaintness and beauty of Seaside and the old southern charm of Savannah.
3. Are any of your characters based off of people you know?
The Yvonne character is loosely based on my childhood best friend. The character has her likeness some of her mannerisms, and charm that merged beautifully with the character she became.
4. When can we expect from Marygene Brown and the town of Peach Cove?
There is a lot to come from Marygene and the Peach Cove gang. In book two, Southern Sass and A Crispy Corpse, our heroine is pushed to the limit and finds that her southern sleuthing grit is her saving grace. It’s a wild ride for sure.
In this installment, cupcake bakers and bakery owners, Mel and Angie, are baking cupcakes and preparing for their high school reunion. However, Mel is doing so under protest. Mel did not have the best experiences in school as she was overweight and bullied terribly. Although, thinned down and successful, Mel is still terribly insecure. Mel soon finds out that time doesn’t change everyone. The night of the reunion, things are just like high school. Her bullies are still there, holding court, and ready to bully her. The plot thickens when one of her tormentors is found dead and she is the prime suspect.
Determined to clear her name, Mel works with some unlikely people from her past. Together they are determined to find the killer and uncover secrets that may unravel a lot of lives. Some people are willing to do anything to keep their secrets, even kill for them.
I wasn’t surprised really by the culprit, as I suspected them at one point throughout the story but it was still a shock at the reveal.
I love Angie and Tate as a married couple now and I really liked Mel and Joe’s relationship in this book. I was never really Team Joe, always Team Martinez. And as odd as it may be to see Uncle Stan and Mel’s mom together, it makes me happy that they are finding companionship at this time in their lives. I am not sure when book 12 is going to be released but I cannot wait for it, as there will be a lot going on from the way this one ended.
I had the audio version of this book narrated by Susan Boyce. Highly recommend.
I adore this series. The setting of a small town tea shop, the cast of characters, and the sweet and sinister plot lines have made the Daisy’s Tea Garden Mysteries one of my top series.
First and foremost, I love any book, especially a cozy, that has a middle aged (give or take a few years) protagonist. Also, when said protagonist is a single woman battling her own insecurities while trying to keep it together for her family, that’s the perfect recipe to connect emotionally with the books.
In this series, Daisy, a widow with 2 teenage daughters, returns to her small, home town to be closer to her family. In need of a fresh start, Daisy and her aunt Iris open a Tea Shop. Although the business is very successful, its seems a dark cloud has been hovering around the town, especially the tea shop. With murder and mystery popping up in town, Daisy or someone she cares about always seem to be a suspect.
In this installment of the series, a local food critic is going around town reviewing local businesses. With the extremely unfavorable reviews he is giving, it is no surprise that he meets an untimely demise. The twist, it may have been food from Daisy’s Tea Garden that did him in. With her staff being prime suspects, Daisy and her somewhat boyfriend, Jonas, are on the case. If that’s not enough, there seems to be something going on within her own family.
I had no idea who the culprit was of the murder and the why. I did have my a strong idea of what was going on with Daisy’s family. This book, although Cozy, has a strong emotional theme. The sense of strength, family, support, and love are very strong in this novel. When a book can surprise me, make me laugh out loud, and tear up with emotion, it gets a 5 Star rating.
I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for my honest review.
I am highly anticipating the release of book 4, Murder with Cherry Tarts, 11/26/19.
This week, Krista Davis released The Diva Sweetens the Pie, book 12 of The Domestic Diva Mystery Series. I cannot sing the praises of this series loud enough. Book 1, The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, released in 2008. For whatever reason, I did not start reading this series until last year. If you still have not read this series, I am urging you to stop what you are doing and read it now!
The core characters of the series, Sophie, Nina, Bernie, Mars, and more, even Natasha, are so well developed that you will forget you are reading a book. You immediately become invested in this cast, you feel like you are a part of the gang. I can also add, the animals’ personalities even shine through. Every book in the series introduces several new characters but its never too much. You never lose focus or become overwhelmed. I have no idea how she does it. Every book is amazing. You would think maybe at least 1 out 12 may have just been okay, but that is not the case. I have never enjoyed a series as much as I enjoy this one. You will laugh out loud, you will be angered and disappointed, you will be surprised and you will long for the next book.
A little about the books…
The books are set in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Sophie and her semi nemesis Natasha are dueling divas with advice columns; think Ann Landers, Dear Abby, and Hints from Heloise all wrapped into one. Sophie and Natasha have been competing against each other since childhood. I would give their relationship the title of Frenemies.
In each book, Old Town Alexandria starts off just like any small southern town. There is usually a competition, festival, or holiday around the corner that everyone is gearing up and coming to town for. Coincidentally, there is always a murder to investigate as well. Sophie, along with her best friend Nina and the rest of the gang, are the sleuths that get to the bottom of it all. I like to think of them as an adult, southern Scooby Gang, yes they even have a dog!
My description of the series does not do it justice. Anyone that follows my reviews on Goodreads, knows that I am a harsh critic. So if I am telling you to read this series, read this series LOL. I give this series overall 5 Stars!!
If you have never read a Cozy Mystery, this is the series for you. If you have never tried an audio book, this is the series for you. The narrator, Hillary Huber, is phenomenal. If you are skeptical about listening to books on audio, this will change your mind.
Book 3, Drawn and Buttered, was just released on February 26, 2019. I fell in love with this series from chapter one, book one. What is so great about Ms. Randall’s books, you definitely feel like you are part of the story. Allie is the protagonist/sleuth. She is very likable and relatable. She isn’t pushy and while she does find herself in some compromising positions, her behavior isn’t as reckless as in some cozies. She lives with her whimsical Aunt Gully, who is quirky for sure but not obnoxious. Also, the “law” is now used to her involvement and actually trust her instincts. They aren’t over the top jerks. These books are available in all formats: print, digital, and audio. I have all 3 in digital and audio and I will tell you, the narrator Tiffany Morgan, is amazing. Below are my reviews of Books 1-3 in released order.
Wow!!! I flew through this book. First in a a series, Ms. Randall really connects you with her characters. I absolutely adored the protagonist, Allie, and her relationship with her family and friends. And who couldn’t fall in love with Aunt Gully?!?!?
A food competition/reality tv, small town, and a Murder. In the small New England town of Mystic Bay, chowder and lobster rolls are the key to life. When a lobster roll contest goes horribly wrong, it’s obvious the small town has a ton of secrets and a murderer. Allie and Aunt Gully, along with Allie’s sister Lorel and best friend Verity, are determined to get to the bottom of it but when suspicion is turned into them, the need to solve it.
With several secrets, twists and turns, this book kept me guessing until the end. There are many secrets, some more obvious than others, but I didn’t see the end coming. I was shocked.
More Praise for the Lazy Mermaids!! I love how Ms. Randall can make her novels so much fun and so very thrilling at the same time. Aunt Gully and Gully’s Gals inspire me for my golden years lol.
When Allie finds not only one, but two bodies, she has the task of figuring out if there is a connection. Not only does she have that task, she has to make sure the blame isn’t placed on her sister Lorel. With more questions than answers, Allie and her BFF Verity are determined to find them. The puzzle is definitely a doozy this go around. Everyone is suspect in this case. People are acting oddly and most are dazed by the celebrities in town.
When the connections come together and the pieces all start to fit, I was shocked. I did not see it coming. I had suspicions of the persons involved but I had no idea of the how or why.
I enjoyed seeing some characters from book one becoming more of a core character in this one.
AMAZING!! Shari Randall, you did it again, and better!! I love this series. I feel like I am part of community of Mystic Bay when I read these books. The core characters are amazing and every new character introduced is developed extremely well.
Here in book 3, its Halloween. Its Halloween in New England. Old traditions and superstitions are brought to light in reenactments. I was actually familiar with the superstition or folk lore surrounding the Parish Family ancestry. So when a body is found in the old Parish Cemetery, on Halloween night, it makes you questions if there were supernatural beings at work or a murderer.
Its up to Allie, Verity, and a others to crack the case. The shenanigans they get into are mostly comical, yet someone is now actively seeking Allie out. Can Allie crack another case?
Oh and don’t forget Lobzilla!! I am also glad we didn’t have to deal with Lorel much in this story.
Such a fun series. I am totally invested in Callie and Company and the future endeavors in Crystal Bay. As much as I love Callie, I think its all her friends and family that make me love this series so much. Callie is a hard working Greek bistro owner as well as a single mom, so of course she has time to be an amateur sleuth and mystery solver. Callie just has a knack for finding dead bodies.
Ms. Kales does a great job developing the lovable characters. The characters are so relatable. Yes its a small town and quite over the top in many cases, but the relationships and emotions, as well as day to day routines, are real. I feel like I have been in many of the same situations with family, exes, friends, budding romances, coworkers, etc.
The books have many plot twists that will keep you guessing until the end. Each book has a theme surrounding it. From a Cook Off to Christmas and Halloween to Murder Mystery Dinners, each book will offer you a new adventure in Crystal Bay, WI.
If I had to pick a favorite so far in the series, it would be Spiced and Iced (Book 2). In this book, Callie’s strength is tested, and tested hard. She has many trials thrown at her and she never breaks. Callie is a protagonist that I could truly admire, definitely a super woman. And let’s face it, its Christmas Time. Nothing better than a Christmas themed Cozy!!
The books also made me hungry, as I love Mediterranean dishes. There are several recipes in the back of the books that I will definitely try, especially the Greek Coffee Cakes!
I am impatiently awaiting Book 5. I highly recommend this series to anyone that already has a love for Cozy Mysteries or is looking to dive into the genre. Callie is a very strong woman, so even though this a cozy, you will enjoy this series if you love mysteries with a strong female protagonist. This series is also available on Kindle Unlimited.