Hello Southernistas! Well after a very warm December winter has finally decided to make an appearance! While winter along with fall is not my favorite season I do love the fashion and I’m blessed to live in a state that experiences all four season (sometimes in a single day). So I indulged myself last month and added a few more sweaters and sweater dresses to my closet to keep me warm and cozy.
Until next time Southernistas! Stay warm and Be safe!
This sweater dress from Lane Bryant does double duty on those days when the temps are in the high 40s — 50s it is super warm and cozy with a pair of tried and true boots I’ve had forever from Payless. Because it is such a thick seater dress it gives double warmth under your coat for colder days.
Fashion to Figure is a brand I’ve wanted to try for a while now but my style is sexy but modest and this brand is full on sexy! But all is not lost and by diligently looking I have scored some cute pieces that work for my style especially this red sweater dress. I just popped a white tank underneath and I was ready to go. The buttons are not functional and you can actually size down because the dress runs a little large. I wanted a compete head to to red look so I grabbed my red moto jacket (comes in several colors) from Eloquii and my brand new red pumps from JustFab and I am warm and slaying it!
Happy New Year’s Eve Southernistas! I hope, those who celebrate Christmas, had a wonderful Christmas spent celebrating the birth of Jesus, enjoying family, and opening presents! I hope you got what you wanted and for my book lovers I hope you got that book you’ve been wanting or a gift card to your local independent bookstore or Barnes & Nobles.
Well here we are…the FINALE! After three post of my favorite cozy mysteries that I read this year out of all the cozies I read in 2021. I really hope y’all have enjoyed the unofficial countdown and that some of these will make on to your TBR or have peaked your curiosity and you decide to read one of these cozies. Here’s to reading and discovering even more new and old cozy mysteries in 2022.
Having said all that here is my choice for the top cozy mystery of 2021 (drumroll please)
You can purchase this book from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads, and where ever books are sold. I have linked the author’s website.
Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Murders (A Mrs. Claus Mystery) by Liz Ireland
This new series by Liz Ireland was in my humble opinion the best of the best when it comes to cozy mystery. I laughed all through the book and was so sad when I finished reading the book and immediately pre-ordered Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide and devoured that book also. I am now anxiously awaiting the third book in this series and so is my mother. In this series April Claus is a newlywed to her husband Nick who is in his first year as Santa after the tragic death of his older brother. She is trying to find her place and fulfill the her duties as the new Mrs. Claus which in the eyes of her mother in low the Dowager Mrs. Claus she is falling short. On top of everything else Giblet Hollyberry has been is killed and all the clues point to Santa himself as the murderer. April knows this can’t be true! While the family doesn’t seem as concerned by this as they should especially her husband and her doubts about Constable Crinkles and Office Jolly’s policing abilities April has decided that it is up to her to find out who killed Giblet before Nick is arrested and Christmas is cancelled.
Of all the cozies I’ve read this year this has been the series I have talked about non-stop. I mean a cozy mystery that takes place in Santaland? GENIUS! Liz Ireland’s does a marvelous job of world building and you would think after all the portrayals of the North Pole in various Christmas stories over the years that would nothing could be added or said but you would be wrong. Her characters are wonderful and I like that the Claus family are portrayed as a normal family with the same issues many families have as well as how out of touch they seem to be. I could go on and on about how great this series is and I can’t wait to see what is next for April Claus and Santaland.
Happy New Year Southernistas! Well God has blessed us to say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022! I don’t know about y’all but I honestly thought we would be leaving COVID behind in 2021 but it looks like another relative of COVID has decided to come with us into 2022. I am not one for making resolutions because lets face it before the 1st week of 2022 is over I’ve broken the resolutions. What I do like to do is keep moving forward and improving Regina. I want to draw closer to God, family, and friends. I want to always be a better version of myself and of course step out of my comfort zones and have new experiences whatever they may be.
I know for some of my friends 2021 was a year of change and loss but I have seen them grow stronger through every change. It is my prayer that we all go into this new year with hope and to have a impact on our fellow man. To be a little kinder, more respectful, and hopefully more loving towards each other.
So here’s to 2022 and all the experiences (good & bad), adventures, new relationship weather it be romantic or otherwise, and fabulous style and fashion!
Merry Christmas Southernistas! I know it’s Christmas Eve but I still want to wish y’all a very Merry Christmas!
We’ve made it to week 3 of my list of favorite cozy mystery series I read this year. For those of you who are wondering what is a cozy mystery? The best definition of a cozy mystery is mystery that usually takes place in a small town with an amateur sleuth (librarian, baker/chef, teacher, etc.) that has not graphic violence, profanity (although some do), and no sex scenes. An example of a cozy mystery would be Murder, She Wrote.
Now that I have defined, my definition, of what what a cozy mystery is I have been sharing my favorite of all the cozies I read this year and while I could list a lot I decided to post 3 each post because I don’t want y’all to get bored and stop reading or unfollow me because I go on and on. I will end the last post with my top pick of 2021 and I can’t wait to share it with you.
You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads, and where ever books are sold. If you would like more information about the series or to check out the other series by these talented authors I have linked their webpage just click on their name
I discovered author Alexia Gordon, who is a physician also, listening to a cozy podcast, another blog for another time, and her Gethsemane Brown mystery series which is set in Ireland! This is the first book in the series and we find Dr. Gethsemane Brown stranded in Ireland after she looses the position as assistant conductor with the Cork Philharmonic to the music director’s mistress which is how she ends up in the village of Dunmullach as the music teacher at St. Brennan’s School for Boys where she is expected to turn the boy’s orchestra into an award winning orchestra. The upside is the charming cottage, Carraigfaire Cottage, the home of famed classical musician and composer Eamon McCarthy what she didn’t know is that she would be sharing the cottage with a ghost, Eamon McCarthy. I absolutely loved this book and I hope this series has a long life. Gethsemane is tough and hard drinking which is something you don’t see in amateur sleuths.
As a stiletto wearing girl this is a mystery series I have been dying to read forever and I finally, FINALLY did it! And I am a better person for it now. I love this first book in the series and I’ve purchased the 2nd book. The 13th book if this series came out this month so I’ve got a lot of binge reading to do…lol. Unlike the majority of cozy mysteries this series is set in Los Angeles, CA and not a small town which is a nice change. Aspiring shoe designer Maddie Springer is a funny amateur sleuth who is a girl after my own heart. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the entire series!
Murder with a Cherry on Top (A Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery) by Cynthia Baxter
I love Cynthia Baxter and was sad when her Murder Packs a Suitcase mystery series ended after two books in her series. She also wrote the Reigning Cats & Dogs mystery series which ended after 9 books. I loved both of these series so when she debuted a new series after a long break and it takes place in an ice cream shop I was beyond excited. The series is set in Wolfert’s Roost, NY in the Hudson Valley where our amateur sleuth Kate McKay grew up and is now back home after leaving a high powered career in Manhattan. I enjoyed this book and I really enjoyed how the murder was solved by Kate. I found myself sacrificing a lot of sleep because I just could not put this book down which is a trademark of all of these author’s books. I loved the characters and found myself wanting to visiting the Hudson Valley.
Honorable mention: Live and Let Chai (A Seaside Café Mystery) by Bree Baker
I know I said I said three books but this series by Bree Baker aka Julie Anne Lindsey is a must read. There are 6 books in this series and I was so sad when the author announced book 6 was the end of the series. This series is set on the coast of my home state North Carolina in Charm where Everly Swan has opened up Sun, Sand, and Tea Ice Café. She is trying to make a success of it but the town curmudgeon comes in everyday asking for a list of the ingredients Everly uses in her teas which she refuses to give but always gives him a free sample which he. And as a member of the city council he has never been in favor of Everly opening her café on the beach and fought her every step of the way. When he is found dead with one of her cups from her business in his hand Everly knows it’s up to her to find the killer before she looses her precious café and house and have to move back in with her aunts.
Hello Southernistas! I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my favorite cozy mysteries and that you checked them out. I realized that the first post were all about new mysteries (new to me) I discovered this year. I always like to read the first book in a new mystery series I never start with the most recent release. Also if I didn’t enjoy the first book in the series I always remind myself that this is the first book in the series so I don’t dismiss the series but I read the next book in the series. In my experience most cozies get better with each book and it depends on your personal taste as well.
This list features my favorite cozies of 2021 of long running series that I am a devoted fan and when I say devoted I mean I pre-order the books when they become available for pre-order and them I devour as soon as they arrive.
You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads and everywhere else books are sold. I’ve linked the author’s website just click on the author’s name.
I have been a fan of Laurien Berenson’s Melanie Travis mystery series from the first book A Pedigree to Die For. This book is the 26th book in the series and once again Melanie and her Aunt Peg (who remains incorrigible) find themselves in the middle of a mystery when the owner of Graceland School summer camp ex-husband if found dead on the property. Melanie can’t believe Grace murdered her ex-husband and when she is asked by Grace to investigate how can she say no. Between being a wife, mother of two boys and five standard poodles Melanie always seems to find time to solve a mystery of two.
Dying in a Winter Wonderland (A Year Round Christmas Mystery) by Vicki Delaney
I love the Year Round Christmas Mystery series by Vicki Delany. I look forward to visiting Rudolph, NY whenever I can to see what murder Merry Wilkinson has gotten herself mixed up in and in this 5th book in the series Merry’s brother is the prime suspect in the death of his old high school girlfriend’s fiancé Jeff Vanderhaven. Merry knew it was a mistake to even agree to help Luanne Ireland with her wedding but after much begging and pleading Merry found herself roped into doing the decorations for her wedding which Luanne moved up from July to February. Vicki Delany is also the author of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, Tea by the Sea series, The Lighthouse Library Series, and her newest mystery series The Catskills Summer Resort mystery series
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder (A Hannah Swensen Mystery) by Joanne Fluke
I’ve saved the best for last! This is the 27th book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series or as I like to refer to it also as the Lake Eden mystery series. From her first book, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, to Triple Chocolate I have been them for them all in fact I have pre-ordered book 28 and can’t wait to get in my hot little hands. If I had one complaint about this series is the love triangle that has lasted way beyond it’s date which is the complaint of many fans of this series. Hopefully the love triangle will come to an end in the next book!
Hello Southernistas! Did you really think last week’s post be the last post about sweater dresses? Of course not! As the temperatures drop and we get closer to winter, December 21st, sweater dresses are a must for my closet and yours too so here are more sweater dresses I got from Lane Bryant. I’ve also added links to other brands at different price points.
Until next time Southernistas and remember Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!
Hi Southernistas! As we come down to the end of 2021 I want to share my favorite cozy mysteries this year. Some of these are new mystery series I discovered this year, debut mystery series, and old friends that I’ve been reading since the first book hit the shelf. I hope these books will make their way to your TBR (To Be Read) pile or make you curious enough to give cozy mysteries a try.
You can purchase these books from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Good Reads and everywhere books are sold. I have also linked the author’s website just click on the author’s name.
And Then There Were Crumbs (A Cookie House Mystery) by Eve Calder
This cozy stars Kate McGuire a Manhattan transplant who finds herself working as a baking assistant in Coral Cay, FL at the Cookie House after a failed relationship. Coral Cay is a delightful town and Kate finds herself falling in love with the little town and the town’s dog. The owner of the Cookie House is gruff Sam Hepplewhite who Kate persuades to hire her but when Sam is accused of murdering local real estate developer Stewart Lord it is up to Kate to clear Sam’s name. I really enjoyed the plot and the story really moved and didn’t plod and I found myself loosing sleep because I just couldn’t put it down.
2. In the Dog House (A Dog Club Mystery Series) by V.M. Burns
I discovered V.M. Burns this year and she is a writer of color so if you’re looking to read more writers of color V.M. Burns is a must! I was hooked from the first sentence and literally couldn’t put the book down. The armature sleuth is Lilly Echosby and this first book finds her trying to clear her name after the body of her recently divorced husband if found dead and all clues point to you!
3. Class Reunions are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery Series) by Libby Klein
Recently widowed Poppy McAllister finds herself trapped in grief and self pity and what better way to shake things up then to go home to Cape May, NJ for her 25th class reunion which she was looking forward to like you look forward to a root canal. While home she finds out that her Aunt Ginny is in danger of being committed by an social worker and then the most popular girl in school and her bully is murdered and Poppy is the prime suspect. Now Poppy along with help from her best friends and Aunt Ginny to find the real culprit. This is a really great series.
Happy Thursday Southernistas! So for those of you who have been with me from the first post then you know I am pretty loyal to Eloquii, Lane Bryant, Just Fab, Full Beauty (off/on relationship), and Ashley Stewart to name a few but I really do try to step out of my fashion comfort zone and try other brands but I must confess I look but I don’t step. One of the biggest reasons is sizing especially with independent brands the sizing tends to run small. As with every woman sizing varies depending on who you shop but with my tried and true I know that my size 24 is just that and will fit.
Well last week I tried a new brand…yeah me! I’ve been seeing Chic Soul ads in my Instagram and Facebook feeds forever and although I’ve seen a lot of things I liked and even loved I hesitated because again sizing. I just didn’t want to purchase ponchos and wraps. Then I saw one of my favorite influencers do a haul on her YouTube channel and we are the same size and the same body type (apple) and I decided to give it a try so I purchased this turtleneck red cable knit bodycon sweater dress and I love it! It is the perfect length, it is well made, it is true to size and the fit is on point! I will definitely be adding more Chic Soul to my closet.
Until next time Southernistas Be Bold, Be Beautiful, Be Confident!
Hi Southernistas! Now I know you’re thinking wait didn’t she just post a blog? Yes I did but that one was about fashion this is about my other favorite thing to do and that is READ! My favorite genre is mystery and within that genre I love cozy mysteries. What is a cozy mystery you may ask? The best definition I can give is: a cozy mystery is a mystery that usually takes place in a small town with an amateur sleuth trying to solve a murder mystery with no over the top violence, profanity or sex. Think Jessica Fletcher and of course the queen of the cozy mystery Dame Agatha Christie.
Having said all of that I want to introduce y’all to the Cozy Mystery Book Club (also the IG and Twitter handle) which is the creation of the wonderful Angela Maria Hart whose IG is @writerathart. Angela has created a wonderful community across all social media platforms except Tik Tok but it could be coming. Every month we vote on the book we want to read for the next month on Twitter and at the end of the month we discuss that book on the book clubs YouTube channel Books Are My Hart (like & subscribe). There are so many of other goodies that happen every month but I want to talk about what happens every December!
Every December cozy mystery lovers look forward to the 12 Days of Cozies! It is cozy mysteries on crack! Angela pours her heart and soul into making 12 Days a success and the fact that our favorite authors not only give books to be won in giveaways but they give their time. Every day of the 12 days we get to talk to authors on Instagram and Twitter plus there are readings done on Twitter as well as Q&As. I love the Instagram challenges that are so much fun. I missed participating last year chiefly because I didn’t know anything about this awesome event until after it was over but this year I am prepared.
If you are an avid cozy mystery reader like I am check out the website: www.thecozymysteryclub.com and there is a section all about the 12 Days of Cozies with a complete list of all the authors and each day the author will be on IG and Twitter, the challenges, the blogs and coloring pages! This month there will not be a book club discussion at the end of the month but there is a buddy read going on and the book is In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon.
If you’re looking for a new book series to read or are curious about cozy mysteries this is a great time to discover a new favorite author!
Hello Southernistas! I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that y’all are enjoying the leftovers! If you traveled I hope you had a stress less travel holiday with no delayed flights and not (too) crazy traffic. In the next few blog posts I will be talking about sweater dresses and the brands I love. This week’s post is about Lane Bryant sweater dresses but it is not sponsored by Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant is my go to for affordable and stylish dresses and sweater dresses are included. I actually bought 6 sweater dresses (there was a sale) and I don’t regret a single purchase. I love that Lane Bryant’s sweater dresses are feminine and come in different styles from A-line to bodycon and you just can’t go wrong!
I’ve stated before and even wrote about how much I don’t like Fall but with that being said I must amend that because I do love fall fashion and I especially love when I can break out the sweater dresses…oh yeah! Fall is referred to as sweater weather, cuffing season, and cozy season but I like to refer to it as sweater dress season. I love a great sweater dress they give you a cozy feeling and warmth. Every year when I add to my sweater dress collection and this year is no different. Some are very heavy and warm and some of them are very light weight for 60 plus degree weather.
Every brand offers several dresses in every color, length, type (A-line, bodycon, sheath), and weight (heavy and light). This is the perfect time to grab them up with all the sales that are happening and if you’re not a dress girl they would make a great gift for the dress girl you know.