Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Mystery Bookshop Cozy series debuted last year with “The Plot is Murder” By V.M. Burns.  If you missed that one, you might want to read it before you read the featured review cozy mystery, READ HERRING HUNT.  The protagonist has 2 miniature poodles as pets❣️  Both books are enjoyable reads.  Linda 😊 📚 🐩

A Mystery Bookshop #2
Kensington Publishing
Release Date:  April 24, 2018

4 out of 5 Stars Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

Autumn is Sam Washington’s favorite time of the year along the Michigan coast. Her bookshop, Market Street Mysteries is flourishing. When her assistant, Dawson, is suspected of murder, he could lose his football career if sent to prison. Determined to clear his name, Sam, Nana Jo, and her grandmother’s amusing friends from the retirement center talk it over and ask their contacts for information about the deceased—Melody. Melody appears to have been a con artist with a less than desirable past.

This is a good mystery with plenty of red herrings making it difficult to pinpoint the true killer. There is a ‘mystery within a mystery’ as the novel includes the 1930’s mystery Sam is writing in her free time—it’s okay; however, I prefer the main mystery.

I reviewed an ARC provided by NetGalley And Kensington.

Image source: Goodreads 

I love poodles.  My miniature poodle, Sugar, passed away in January 2017, at the age of 16-1/2, and I know I want another poodle in my life, in the future. ❤️  I recently read the featured Cozy, READ HERRING HUNT by V.M. Burns, featuring mini-poodles Snickers and Oreo.  Please see that review above this post.  ðŸ˜Š 🐩🐩

In loving memory, Sugar.

Image source, Pinterest.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Since Janet Finsilver’s debut of A Kelly Jackson Mystery series, I’ve enjoyed each book in the series.    I always learn something new and interesting through this author’s writing.  Happy Cozy Reading! 😊 📚

A Kelly Jackson Mystery #4
Kensington Publishing
Release Date:  4.17.18

4 Star Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

I always enjoy visiting the regular characters in the Kelly Jackson mystery series. They have established a family-like closeness which contributes to the charm in each new book. Book 4 is a light mystery dealing with illegal redwood logging. A reporter’s life is cut short when he’s researching and planning to do an expose on mushroom patches. Is he killed because mushroom hunters want the locations of their private patches kept secret, or because he stumbles upon more high stakes secrets in his investigation? Kelly, Daniel, and the Silver Sentinels are on the hunt for clues! 

The book was a little slow-paced for me, and I admit I’m not a fan of mushrooms. I also thought it was obvious who the culprits were fairly early on in the book due to their actions. Nonetheless, MURDER AT THE MUSHROOM FESTIVAL is a pleasant addition to the series and fans should enjoy it.

I reviewed a digital arc from NetGalley and Kensington.

Image source: Goodreads 
Cozy Readers, Have you heard the wonderful news?  Hallmark Publishing...the same Hallmark that brings us all the Hallmark movies we love to watch on TV...will soon be Publishing cozy mysteries❣️ 📚  I’m soooo excited! 😀  I read and reviewed LIKE CATS AND DOGS by Alexis Stanton, based on an Original Hallmark Channel Movie, and I loved the story.   It’s a cozy romance with absolutely no violence, no sex, and no graphic language.  I sincerely hope y’all will look forward to future books from Hallmark Publishing with me. 😊

LIKE CATS AND DOGS by Alexis Stanton
Hallmark Publishing
Release Date:  4.17.18

5 Star Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

Fun, light cozy-romance with an opposites attract conflict and humor spread throughout. Laura is an accountant who lives and works with her parents. She takes her part-beagle dog and heads off on a two week vacation in hopes of figuring out who she really is and what she’s meant to do in life. She loves photography, loud pop music, and junk food. Spencer Hodkins is a grad student struggling to write his dissertation in the field of psychology, but his muse is blocked. He’s eating raw food for a month, loves classical music, peace & quiet, and his cat, Mozart.

When the rental contracts seemingly get mixed up and they’re forced to share the same house, Laura and Spencer clash about like Frank and Mozart do! The homeowner, Ellen, who also owns a local art gallery, becomes a mentor to Laura teaching her valuable lessons about photography. Spencer’s muse returns after he spends a few days with Laura, and the words start to flow.

I really enjoyed relaxing and reading this story about two star-crossed people. That their pets played outstanding secondary characters was a huge delight! The ending is sweet and the author includes a sweet recipe for S’mores French Toast.

I read and reviewed a digital arc from NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing.

Image source: Goodreads

Looking for a great beach/summer read?  PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE by Dorothy St. James is one of my Summer Picks!  Enjoy! 😊 📚

A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #2
Crooked Lane Books
Release Date:  3.13.18

5 Star Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

Charity Penn has taken charge of The Chocolate Box shop she inherited from her grandmother Mabel in lovely, quaint Camellia Beach, South Carolina. Mabel’s friend, Bertie, is still making the luscious bonbons that are the Shop specialities, and Penn keeps hoping she’ll be able to create her own hot bonbon recipe. The beachside town is awhirl because it’s Summer Solstice Beach Music Festival time. Pop star Bixby Lewis is there as a favor to Penn’s half-sister, Tina. He’s been followed by a crazy stalker who causes constant trouble. Tragedy soon strikes the music festivities when a band singer dies. Clever plotting entwines the search for the killer and the mystery surrounding the missing Caroline who may be Penn’s birth mother. Penn is still adamant about finding out the identity of her mother, and I was about as shocked as Penn was by the closure of that journey.

I found book two in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries much more entertaining than the first story. Protagonist, Charity Penn, has strengthened and matured in character beyond the paranoid mess she was when she first arrived in Camellia Beach. Cute little Stella, the papillion, remains with Penn and I believe she’ll make a dog lover out of her yet! I do recommend this story for a great beach/summer read.

Image source: Goodreads

Monday, April 9, 2018

A cozy series I look forward to with each new novel.  I thought the second story was even better than the first.  I hope y’all enjoy reading LORD OF THE PIES, also. 😊 📚

LORD OF THE PIES by Nell Hampton
A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #2
Release Date:  April 10, 2018

5 Star Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

As an American Chef in a Royal British household, Carrie Ann Cole faces bias every day, especially from the other chefs at the palace. Carrie is undeniably an excellent chef and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge love her cooking.

As the book begins, a Peeping Tom is caught taking photos of Carrie as she works late making pies in her kitchen. When he falls victim to a killer, some of the photos hint at suspicious exchanges taking place near another kitchen on the palace grounds.

Secrets, jealous lover’s, and scandals all play a part in the mix of ingredients that make this cozy mystery one to indulge in. There’s a plethora of juicy suspects and gossip to delight and entertain, plus a romance begins for Carrie. The author does a great job of concealing the murdering foe until the reveal. I truly enjoy this yummy series which includes recipes.

I reviewed a digital ARC from NetGalley and Crooked Lane.

When the Kensington Palace Chef Mystery series debuted last year, I was unsure if I would like a cozy set in England.  I didn’t like it—I loved it! 😊  Nancy J. Parra aka Nancy Coco aka Nell Hampton is a great author, and I was immediately immersed in Chef Carrie’s life inside the Palace walls.  Happy Reading ❣️ 📚

KALE TO THE QUEEN by Nell Hampton
A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #1

4 Star Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

Chef Carrie Ann Cole travels to London to work for the duke and duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace. She hasn't even recovered from jet lag when one of her two assistants, Frank, is found murdered in the greenhouse just outside the kitchen door! The other assistant, Michael, is accused of the crime.

Carrie is a strong protagonist who thinks quickly on her feet and I liked her immediately. I also was in favor of the attraction she almost instantly felt for Ian Gordon, the head of palace security--he struck me as a great guy. The supporting cast of characters are mainly British; thus, stern and proper in their work for the royals. The plot moves forward at a steady pace. I somehow had a strong feeling about who the real killer might be and found out I was correct at the end.

I think this debut series is a bit of a different cozy idea--an American employed overseas as the personal family chef for part of the royal family. I enjoyed the story and look forward to reading book two. Culinary fans will find some delicious recipes at the end, also.

Monday, April 2, 2018

I absolutely loved this debut cozy, DEATH BY THE SEA by Kathleen Bridge.  It is book one of the By the Sea Mystery series.  To me, the characters make this story a pageturner, and I hope each of you reading this book will enjoy it, too.  If you do, please share your delight with your friends.  ðŸ˜ŠðŸ“š Please read my review below for a brief glimpse into this exciting cozy.  Happy Reading!

DEATH BY THE SEA by Kathleen Bridge
A By the Sea Mystery #1
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Lyrical Underground

5 Star Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

I loved this story! It’s set in a terrific beach area in Florida. The characters are very interesting with colorful backgrounds. Humor is spread throughout the book plus the author uses such lovely, descriptive prose that I almost felt like I was there! Liz, the brave protagonist who is scarred outside and inside is coping with her struggles and planning to continue with her life as a bestselling author. She’s staying with her beloved great aunt Amelia who runs an old Hotel and Emporium. Aunt Amelia is a fantastic, fun character who acted in popular old TV shows and movies. Amelia has a heart of gold and tends to collect misfits—both human and pets—at her hotel. I would love to be a guest there! I reveled in all the mentions of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christie mysteries. The murder mystery delves into a feud over pirate treasure, but figuring out who, what, when, where, why, and how is complicated. Adding to the delightfulness of this cozy are cats, a dog, and a talkative macaw! I’m all psyched up and can hardly wait for the second story! Fun debut!

I reviewed a digital arc from NetGalley and Lyrical Underground.

Paige Shelton’s Scottish Bookshop Mystery series has mesmerized me since the first chapter of book one.  There is no other cozy series like it.  I highly recommend the first two books, THE CRACKED SPINE and OF BOOKS AND BAGPIPES.  It’s best to read them in order to understand how the story begins; however, each book can stand alone.  Happy Cozy Reading! 📚 😊

(A Scottish Bookshop Mystery #3)
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Minotaur Books

5 Star Review by Chatting About Cozies (Linda Langford)

Since feisty Delaney Nichols moved from Kansas to Scotland, her life has been filled with old books and bookish treasures; intrigue and danger. She’s found true love with pub owner Tom, and made great friends with her landlords, Elias and Aggie, and her co-workers, Rosie and Hamlet. Delaney is still carefully feeling her way around her mysterious and wealthy employer, Edwin MacAlister.

The morning after Delaney has drinks with some new friends who are medical students at the University of Edinburgh—Sophie, Rena, and their friend, Mallory—The Cracked Spine employees are horrified to find a dead body in the alley behind the shop. Worrisomely, it’s Mallory.

As history mingles into current events; the author leads readers through a grisly past filled with tales of witches, murderers, and thieves. The med students are seemingly afraid of one particular professor, a Dr. Eban, who has a fascination with a missing ex-professor’s (Dr. Robert Knox) methods of illegally acquiring corpses for teaching purposes in anatomy classes. Could Dr. Eban be a killer? Joshua, Delaney’s geeky contact at the museum, and Artair, the librarian who’s also Tom’s father, lend their expertise in researching answers.

Just as the first two stories in the Scottish Bookshop series were for me; this third story is mesmerizing. Clues are abundant, yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on the right answer, however, when the plot pieces together at the end, I marveled at Ms. Shelton’s ability to pen such a complex manuscript. I enjoyed every page of “Lost Books and Old Bones,” and highly recommend this series beginning with book one.

I read and reviewed an ARC provided by the author and Minotaur Books.

March 2018 Cozy Reviews

March was an average reading month for me.  I read 7 Cozy Mysteries and I’m finishing up 2 more (about halfway through each book).  How many Cozies did you read in March? 😊 📚

1.   Better Off Read by Nora Page (Bookmobile Mystery #1) *new series* 5.8.18
2.   Murder at the Mushroom Festival by Janet Finsilver (Kelly Jackson Mystery #4) 4.17.18
3.   A Soufflé of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber (French Bistro Mystery #2) 7.10.18
4.  A Grave Issue by Lillian Bell (A Funeral Parlor Mystery #1) 2.13.18
5.   Picked Off by Linda Lovely (Brie Hooker Mystery #2) 6.5.18
6.   The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns (A Mystery Bookshop #1) 11.28.17
7.   Read Herring Hunt by V.M. Burns (A Mystery Bookshop #2) 4.24.18

Some of the books I read are advanced reader copies (ARCs), and I read and review these books before release dates, so I’ve noted the release date at the end.

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