Book Review of Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off by Darci Hannah

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5 STARS!

Happy Friday book lovers! I usually don’t do independent book reviews because I do a mini review on my Wednesday Reads posts but of the books I’ve read that week. But this second book in Beacon Bakeshop cozy mystery series by Darci Hannah deserves its own review. I was introduced to this author last year and I added her first book Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop to my TBR but I didn’t read it until this month because as I’m sure you all understand the TBR list never shrinks and takes on a life of its own. Once I read the first book which I enjoyed so much (clink on link below for that review) that I immediately ordered the second book in this series.

Wednesday Reads

Happy Wednesday book lovers! We’re half way through the week and getting ready for the weekend! Since last week I’ve…

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As I’ve stated before I am not a fan of Christmas in July because I like to celebrated each holiday in its season and I can only do one holiday at time and Christmas is a lot! But I knew I was going to break that rule this year because I just couldn’t wait until Christmas to read Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-offDarci Hannah is such an amazing author and she doesn’t disappoint in this second book in the series (yes I have book 3). So as soon as I read my book club picks for July I immediately dived into Christmas cookie bake-off.

It’s Christmas in Beacon Harbor, MI and Lindsey Bakewell has visions of sugarplums and the perfect Christmas a la Hallmark dancing in her head. The bakeshop is doing great, her romance with Rory Campbell is going great, she has more staff to help her out, and the holiday orders are rolling in! The only problem is Lindsay has been through 3 baking assistants and when the self proclaimed Christmas expert Felicity Stewart owner of the towns year round Christmas Shoppe springs a Christmas cookie bake-off competition a week before the Christmas festival titled (kid you not) The Great Beacon Harbor Christmas Cookie Bake-off in which every one must introduce a signature cookie and the top 4 will be in a live baking competition at the Christmas festival that will be judged by the famous Chicago food critic Chevy Chambers of the show Windy City Eats well Lindsay is ready to throw in the towel! How is she going to do this on top of all the baking and filling orders without a baking assistant she needs a Christmas miracle!

Chevy Chambers turns out to be a truly loathsome person creating chaos and making enemies. He is hitting on the women in the competition and making promises to each one in exchange for “favors” but Lindsey sees through the slimy Mr. Chambers and doesn’t take him up on any offers

Then during the actual live competition Chevy is murdered and everything points to Felicity will Lindsay along with Rory, her best friend Kennedy, her parents who have flown in for Christmas and the resident lighthouse ghost Captain Willy be able to find the real killer or will Lindsay’s perfect Hallmark Christmas get cancelled permanently?

I loved this book! You can see the growth in every character and from the first sentence I was hooked and just couldn’t put the book down. There were plenty of red herrings but the one thing I appreciate about the author is she never introduces anyone or anything that doesn’t move the plot along. Also there are never like a hundred suspects or a lot of subplots that can take away from the actual mystery. I was fully engaged in the plot and again the killer was not the person I thought it was but there is one scene in the story that had me dying with laughter that involves Lindsey, Kennedy and her mother Ellie. I also loved her temporary baking assistant Mrs. Nichols who is Lindsey’s Christmas miracle.

It is hard for me to find anything I didn’t like about Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off but if I have too:

  1. I was not a fan of the whole cookie napping thing because the only person who could identify them was Mrs. Nichols it worked on some level but I could have done without it
  2. I was well into the book before the murder actually happened but this is a matter of personal preference for me. I tend to like for the murder to happen at the beginning of the book again nit picking.
  3. The Great Beacon Harbor Christmas Cookie Bake-off I know it was a play on The Great British Bake-off but oh my goodness what a long title and I know I’m being super nit picky but I felt this title was just too much.

Until next time book lovers!

Wednesday Reads

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Hello again book lovers! Today I want to share with y’all what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what is up next in my cozy mystery reading adventures. July has been for me a month of non stop reading and yet my TBR pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.

With it being so hot and know for some you the temps have been in the 100s this is the perfect time to stay inside and read a good book:).

What good books are you reading?

Finished Reading

Murder Is No Picnic (Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing

This is the third book in the Cape Cod foodie mystery series and I highly suggest you read the 2nd book An Eggnog to Die For before you read this book as there are references to the second book that for me at least was a slight distraction from the actual plot of this book.

Samantha Barnes the Cape Cod foodie is really excited for her 4th of July clambake she’s planning and has discovered the perfect blueberry buckle to serve. When she gets the chance to meet famed celebrity chef Clara Foster and learn how to make the blueberry buckle for her blog is beyond excited. The day was great and Sam had so much fun with Clara so she is shocked to discover the next day Clara has died in a house fire. When carelessness is believed to be the reason for the fire Sam knows that Clara was too a good a chef to leave a frying pan on a stove unattended and is determined to prove that Clara was murdered.

I found myself steadily engrossed in the plot. I definitely see growth in Samantha and all of the additional characters in this book. I never found myself getting bored with the storyline and there were not too many red herrings.

I give Murder Is No Picnic 4 stars

Murder, She Knit (A Knit & Nibbles Mystery) by Peggy Ehrhart

This was the July Cozy Mystery Book Club pick and I was looking forward to discovering a new (to me) series and author. There are nine books in this series with book 10 in the works so it is a very popular series.

Five years after Pamela Paterson became a widow she is settling into her life and career as an editor for a craft magazine and an empty nester. She runs into an old friend Amy who has moved to Arborville, NJ to teach at the local college. Pamela invites Amy to her knitting group known as knit and nibble but Amy never shows up and when everyone in the group leaves Pamela finds Amy’s body in her yard stabbed with a knitting needle when she goes looking for her cat.

This book was not for me and when the killer was revealed I just couldn’t see how the person who was the killer could have been the killer. I mean everything pointed to 1 of 2 people and it wasn’t the killer. How could everyone enter and left Pamela’s house and not see Amy’s body or hear the murder? I was also disappointed that there were knitting patterns included in the book. I never really fully connected with Pamela.

I give this book 2.5 stars

Currently Reading

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off (A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery) by Darci Hannah

I am hooked on this series! I read the first book in this series Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop quickly because I just couldn’t put the book down. Then I immediately bought the second book in the series which just so happens to be Christmas themed and I just couldn’t wait until December to read it!

Darci Hannah does not disappoint with her second book in this series and I am trying to pace myself but if work didn’t interfere with my reading I would be home right now curled up with a cup of coffee reading this book but I will be reading on my lunch break!

Next Up

Death by Bubble Tea (Night Market Mystery Series) by Jennifer J. Chow

I am very excited to read this first book in this series by Jennifer J. Chow who is also the author of The Sassy Cat series and Winston Wong series. This will be my first time reading anything by this author but I am really looking forward to reading this book especially since it takes place in Los Angeles and not in a small town. If the reviews I’ve been seeing on Instagram by bookstagrammers are anything to go by this is going to be a treat!

1st Book in a New Cozy Series

Book Blurb:

When Yale Yee discovers her cousin Celine is visiting from Hong Kong, she is obliged to play tour guide to a relative she hasn’t seen in twenty years. Not only that, but her father thinks it’s a wonderful idea for them to bond by running a food stall together at the Eastwood Village Night Market. Yale hasn’t cooked in years, and she hardly considers Celine’s career as a social media influencer as adequate experience, but because she’s just lost her job at her local bookstore, she feels she has no choice.

Yale and Celine serve small dishes and refreshing drinks, and while business is slow, it eventually picks up thanks to Celine’s surprisingly useful marketing ideas. They’re quite shocked that their bubble tea, in particular, is a hit — literally — when one of their customers turns up dead. Yale and Celine are prime suspects due to the gold flakes that Celine added to the sweet drink as a garnish. Though the two cousins are polar opposites in every way, they must work together to find out what really happened to the victim or the only thing they’ll be serving is time.

Wednesday Reads

Happy Wednesday book lovers! We’re half way through the week and getting ready for the weekend! Since last week I’ve added to my TBR (to be read) list with some more great mysteries which I did a book haul on my Instagram .

Here is what I’m reading and upcoming reads.

Finished reading:

Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop (A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery #1) by Darci Hannah

This is a MUST read!

OMG y’all I was not expecting this book to be so good so I was beyond happy in fact so happy I ordered the second book in the series and pre-ordered the third book in the series! I loved the fact that Lindsey Bakewell was a highly successful and financially independent woman in her own right who trades in her high powered Wall Street job to open a bakery in Beacon Harbor, MI. It’s not random either her father grew up in Traverse City, MI where Lindsey spent her childhood summers in her grandparents bakeshop where she learned and developed a love of baking. They would take her to Beacon Harbor for a day trip on the weekends so it is only natural she would find herself back in a place that is like a second home to her after catching her fiancé with the pastry chef.

Lindsey works hard to get her bakeshop ready for its Memorial Day weekend opening. Everything is going well the shop is full and everything is selling fast until her cheating ex and the “tart” of a pastry chef Mia show up to ruin her opening along with the local lighthouse preservation society protesters. Things go from bad to worse when in all the chaos (there’s a food fight) Mia drops dead and Lindsey as the scorned woman is the prime suspect. Now Lindsey finds herself trying to find the killer and save her bakery or should she just pack up and go back to New York?

I loved Lindsey Bakewell, the residents of Beacon Harbor especially the new man in her life Rory, and her fashionable best friend who comes to visit and help with PR. I thought I had it figured out who the killer was but was I ever wrong. There was a twist thrown in and then when the killer was revealed I was just blown away! Everything worked for me even the haunted lighthouse angle.

5 Stars!

Currently reading:

Murder Is No Picnic (Cape Cod Foodie Mystery #3) by Amy Pershing

I know in last week’s post I said this was the second book in the series but this is actually the third book in the Cape Cod foodie series. I am really enjoying this cozy mystery series and it’s July 4th theme which makes me wish I’d read it at the beginning of this month but since this is my Facebook book club July read I always read my book club picks closer to the date we will be discussing the book.

Next read:

Murder, She Knit (A Knit & Nibbles Mystery #1) by Peggy Ehrhart

Cozy Mystery Book Club July Pick

Wednesday Reads

Hello fellow book lovers! Wednesday is here and I hope you’re having a good week so far. Looks like July is going to be a good reading month for me even if I did kick it off sick but I’m back now and feeling so much better! For this week’s post I am also sharing a Bible study that I am using right now.

Bible Study

Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize when God Speaks by Priscilla Shirer

When I am not reading a mystery I am always looking for a great Bible Study I can use in my quite time and my go to is usually www.thedailygraceco.com for my Bible studies. This Bible Study I am using is a 7 week Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer. I am in the first week and I am really enjoying this so much. Priscilla makes it really simple and easy to follow along and I love the questions that are included with each subject.

Finished reading:

All Fudged Up (A Candy Coated Mystery) by Nancy Coco

I finally finished the first book in Nancy Coco’s candy coated mystery series which really should be called a fudge shop mystery series. This book was my book club’s June pick and I didn’t finish it when I thought I would for various reasons.

Allie McAllister is determined to keep her family’s 120 year old hotel and fudge shop business on Mackinac Island thriving. With a degree from culinary school and new fudge recipes she is ready to keep the family legacy going. She is in the process of renovating the McAllister with money her dear now deceased Papa Luis left when she stumbles upon the body of her grandfather’s best friend Joe Jessop in her second floor utility closet. Now with Allie being the number one suspect in the eyes of one very good looking Officer Rex Manning and the fate of her family legacy on the line plus the whole island taking sides she knows she has to find out who killed Joe in her hotel and win over the local population before the tourist season starts.

With the help of Frances, her best friend Jenn, and her new little puppy Marshmallow (Mal for short) she starts her investigation. This book was a really enjoyable read and it is a straight mystery so there is no subplot going on which can be nice but sometimes it takes away from the actual story.

When the killers (yes plural) were revealed I was totally taken by surprise but in a good way and I was disappointed.

5 stars

It Takes Two to Mango (Trouble in Paradise Mystery) by Carrie Doyle

I must confess this book has been on my TBR since last year and then I heard a YouTuber review this book and she disliked this book so much she didn’t finish it so I was very hesitant to read this book. Well I’m glad I read this book I started reading this book Saturday and finished it Saturday it is just that good. Now I’ll admit Plum Lockhart is not likable at all (think Agatha Raisin) but if you keep reading you will warm up to Plum which is what happened to me.

Plum Lockhart finds herself out of a job when the travel magazine she was editor in chief of is shut down by the publisher. As her job prospects grow dimmer and dimmer she finds herself accepting a job with a luxury resort on the Caribbean Island of Paraiso and she hates it! Everything moves so slowly (tranquilo is the island motto) and is nothing like New York, the heat is not her friend nor her hair’s friend, plus there is Damian Rodriguez her co-worker and mortal enemy. Plum decides that she’ll stick it out until she finds a better job…in New York!

Things go from bad to worse when she rents out Villa Mango to a bachelor party (against company policy) and one of the members of the party is found dead the next day it is declared an accident by the police who is intent on protecting Paraiso’s tourism industry but Plum knows its no accident and she along with the help of the handsome chief of security Juan Kevin sets out to find the killer.

I found this such an enjoyable and fun read. There were moments when I laughed out loud and Plum is prickly, rude and bossy for most of the book but Juan Kevin was the perfect balance and her reality check.

I give this book 5 stars!

Currently reading:

Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop (A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery) by Darci Hannah

Wealthy New York investment banker Lindsey Bakewell is living her dream in the little town of Beacon Harbor, MI where she spent summers with her grandparents after a bad breakup in which she catches her ex-fiancé with the pastry chef. She is opening up a bakery shop. I got this book after seeing so many recommendations I love when a book recommendation doesn’t disappoint.

Book blurb:

More interested in kneading dough than adding it up, Lindsey’s breakup inspired her to set up the shop she always wanted in a place that always made her happy. She’d spent many childhood summers near this beach community and converting the old run-down lighthouse into a bakery café and home offers a perfect fresh start for Lindsey and her devoted Newfoundland dog, Wellington.

But not everyone in town has a sweet tooth. The preservation society won’t have the lighthouse’s history sugar coated by lattes and cakes — and a protest group crashes Lindsey’s Memorial Day opening. Then her ex-fiancé Jeffrey Plank and his girlfriend Mia Wong arrive to trash the place. In the ensuing chaos Mia chokes on a donut and dies.

An autopsy reveals cyanide in Mia’s bloodstream and Lindsey is the police’s prime suspect. To clear her name, she’s going to need to combine ingredients found in the town’s checkered past to uncover the identity of a desperate killer.

Next

Murder is No Picnic (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing

Book 2

This is the second book in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series and it is my Facebook book club July read. It is also a perfect summer read if your looking to add to your summer reading list.

Book blurb:

When a celebrity chef is found dead, Samantha Barnes, the Cape Cod Foodie, finds her search for the world’s best blueberry buckle turning into a search for a killer

The Fourth of July is coming, and for professional food lover Samantha Barnes, it’s all about the picnic. Okay, and the fireworks. And the parade. But mostly the picnic. What could be better than a DIY clambake followed by the best blueberry buckle in the world? Sam has finally found the perfect recipe in the kitchen of Clara Foster, famed cookbook author and retired restaurateur, and she’s thrilled when Clara agrees to a buckle baking lesson.

But when Clara dies in a house fire blamed on carelessness in the kitchen, Sam doesn’t believe it. Unfortunately, her doubts set in motion an investigation pointing to the new owner of Clara’s legendary restaurant — and a cousin of Sam’s harbormaster boyfriend. So, in between researching the Cape’s best lobster rolls and planning her clambake, Sam needs to find Clara’s killer before the fireworks really start….

Murder, She Knit (A Knit & Nibble Mystery) by Peggy Ehrhart

This is the first book in a new mystery series and the July pick for the other book club I am a member of! I am always up for a title that is a play on Murder, She Wrote. Book clubs are wonderful because they give you a chance to discover new authors and keeps your TBR list growing.

Book blurb

Since her only daughter left for college, widow Pamela Paterson has kept busy as associate editor of a craft magazine and founder of the Knit and Nibble knitting club in quaint Arborville, New Jersey. Now, she’s trying out a new hobby — solving murders!

Pamela is hosting the next Knit and Nibble meeting and can’t wait to liven up her otherwise empty home with colorful yarn, baking, and a little harmless gossip. She even recruits Amy Morgan, an old friend who recently moved to town, as the group’s newest member. But on the night of the gathering, Amy doesn’t show. Not until Pamela finds the woman dead outside — a knitting needle stabbed through the front of her handmade sweater . . .

Someone committed murder before taking off with Amy’s knitting bag, and Pamela realizes that only she can spot the deadly details hidden in mysterious skeins. But when another murder occurs, naming the culprit — and living to spin the tale — will be more difficult than Pamela ever imagined . . .

Wednesday Reads

Hello fellow book lovers and sleuths! So I am back from taking a week off to celebrate my birthday and share with y’all what I’ve read, what I’m reading and what’s next on my summer reading TBR.

Happy reading!

Currently Reading:

Smile Beach Murder (Book 1-An Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery) by Alicia Bessette

What better book to read while you’re enjoying your birthday at the beach than a mystery that takes place at the beach! I just started this book but I am enjoying it so much!

Blurb from back of book

When Callie is laid off from her reporting job, she returns to her hometown of Cattail Island and lands a gig at the local bookstore — the same one where she found comfort after her mother died. In fact, the anniversary of her mother’s infamous death is approaching. Years ago, Teri Padget tumbled from the top of the lighthouse. As islanders are once again gossiping about the tragedy, devestating news strikes: the lighthouse has claimed another victim — Eva Meeks, of Meeks Hardware. The police are calling it suicide, but Callie does not believe Eva jumped any more than she believes her mother did — especially because Callie knows that before her death, Eva had dug up a long-forgotten treasure hunt that could have put a target on Eva’s back. In Callie’s search for answers, she enlists the help of some beloved books and several new friends, including the handsome local martial arts instructor, Toby Dodge. But when another death rocks Cattail Island, Callie must face her fears alone. As she earns enemies in pursuit of the truth, Callie knows she will either uncover the killer or become a victim herself.

Finished Reading:

A Side of Murder (Book 1-A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery) by Amy Pershing

When I finished this book I immediately went on Amazon and ordered the other books in this series! So far there are three books in this series, the third one came out this month, and I am hoping this series has a long run!

I loved Samantha Barnes who is or was an up and coming chef in the NYC food scene until that unfortunate YouTube video that costs her her job and her marriage and now she finds herself back home after inheriting her great aunt Ida’s house. Instead of getting her aunt’s house fixed up to sale and then back to NY she finds herself reviewing a restaurant for the local paper that was formerly run by her parents and on top of that she stumbles across a body! It doesn’t help that the new harbormaster is her teen crush Jason Captiva.

The author did a great job keeping the plot moving and a big plus for me is there were not too many suspects! I loved Samantha and her friends back story it was just enough to know them and to look forward to getting to know them. There was not too many red herrings.

What didn’t work for me was I felt it was too long and I was not a fan of two different murderers and one of the culprits didn’t technically commit a murder. It just got really complicated at the end.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars

Pint of No Return (Book 1-Shake Shop Mystery Series) by Dana Mentink

This has been on my TBR pile for months so what better time to move it from TBR to read than summer time! I’ve heard so many rave reviews about the new series so I was really excited to read this book. I finished reading this book at the beach.

Trinidad Jones fines herself starting over after her divorce from her criminal husband Gabe in his hometown of Upper Sprocket, Oregon instead of Miami because Gabe left her one of his businesses in her name. Upper Sprocket is also home her ex’s two other ex-wives who he left businesses and property to. Trinidad along with her senior canine sidekick Noodles is working to have Shimmy & Shake Shop’s grand opening for the upcoming 4th of July celebrations. Of course there is the murder of the Popcorn Palace owner and Juliette one of the ex-wives is arrested for the murder. Trinidad along with her new friends and new love interest Quinn who own the nut farm with his brother Doug set out to prove Juliette’s innocence and find out who’s the real killer.

There is also a second mystery that involves a priceless artifact going on at the same time that is connected to the murder that at times kinda took away from the actual murder.

Anytime you read a book that makes you constantly crave milkshakes then the author has done their job!

I give this book 4 stars!

Next Read:

Tea and Treachery (Book 1-Tea by the Sea) by Vickie Delaney

This is the Cozy Mystery Book Club’s June pick and I am excited to re-read this delightful book again. Vicki Delany is one of my favorite authors.

Blurb from back of the book

As the proud proprietor and head pastry chef of Tea by the Sea, a traditional English tearoom on the picturesque bluffs of Cape Cod, Lily Roberts has her hands full, often literally. But nothing keeps her busier than steering her sassy grandmother, Rose, away from trouble. Rose operates the grand old Victorian B & B adjacent to Lily’s tea shop . . . for now. An aggressive real estate developer, Jack Ford, is pushing hard to rezone nearby land, with an eye toward building a sprawling golf resort, which would drive Rose and Lily out of business.

Tempers are already steaming, but things really get sticky when Ford is found dead at the foot of Rose’s property and the police think she had something to do with his dramatic demise. Lily can’t let her grandmother get burned by a false murder charge. So she starts her own investigation and discovers Ford’s been brewing bad blood all over town, from his jilted lover to his trophy wife to his shady business partners. Now, it’s down to Lily to stir up some clues, sift through the suspects, and uncover the real killer before Rose is left holding the tea bag.

All Fudged Up (Book 1 — A Candy-Cody Mystery) by Nancy Coco

I also belong to a Facebook book club and the first book of Nancy Coco’s Candy-Coated mystery series All Fudged Up is the June book for this book club. There are ten books in this series. This series has been on my to buy list forever and so I am so glad this is the June pick and I have high hopes for this book.

Blurb from back of the book

Welcome to the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop — where life is sweet, revenge is sweeter, and murder is here to to stay…

You Can’t Fudge An Alibi

Allie McMurphy is up to her neck in renovations at the grand old hotel that’s been in her family for generations. With its quaint Victorian charm — and world-famous fudge shop — the place is one of Mackinac Island’s most beloved landmarks.

Sure, every family has a skeleton or two in the closet. But Allie didn’t expect to find an actual corpse inside hers, especially one Joe Jessup, who had a long-running feud with her dear departed grandfather. Which makes Allie the number-one suspect.

Can she sniff out the culprit before another victim checks in?

Wednesday Reads

Happy Wednesday fellow readers! Ya girl has been on a reading roll…YES! Not only did I finish Put Out to Pasture by Amanda Flowers but I also read Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delaney and I am now reading No Good Tea Goes Unpunished by Bree Baker

As I already stated I finally finished reading the second book in Amanda Flower’s Farm to Trouble mystery series Put Out to Pasture and I loved it! I was lukewarm towards her debut novel Farm to Trouble the first book in the series but I live by personal rule of not dismissing a series based on the first book. Often times the next book in a series is better than the first and you find yourself a new cozy series or it you don’t.

That is the case with Put Out to Pasture I loved this second book in the series so much. Shiloh finds herself solving another murder when her best friend Kristy is accuse of murdering Minnie Devani who she has a very public fight with at Shiloh’s Fall Daze event she is hosting at Bellamy Farm to try and raise much needed funds and recognition of her fledgling organic farm business. But things go sideways when Minnie is found murdered later that day in the corn maze and Kristy is the prime suspect!

I liked Shiloh much more than I did in the first book but I much confess that I really wish she would have some serious heart to hearts with her father, cousin, and possible love interest Quinn. The author does a great job of character development, world building, and plot but she still leaves a lot of loose ends when it comes to family and possible romantic relationships and I am hoping that will not always be the case with this series.

Overall I give this book 4 stars!

My Reading Buddy

Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery) Book 1 by Vicki Delany

Vicki Delaney is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. She is the author of several cozy series that I love and read and I’ve been wanting to read her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery for awhile and it has been on my virtual TBR (to be read) pile for a long time so I was so happy this was picked as the May of my Facebook book club.

This is another winner from Vicki! Gemma Doyle is a transplant from England to West London, Massachusetts in Cape Cope and co-owns Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium with her great uncle Arthur and the adjoining Mrs. Hudson Tearoom with her best friend Jayne but Gemma is not a Sherlock Holmes fan her great uncle Arthur and friend Jayne are the Holmes fan. While Gemma may not be a fan of the fictional detective she has the same observational skills as the great detective so much so that nothing gets past Gemma. I really enjoyed this first book in this series and I loved the Sherlock Holmes Easter eggs all through the book. If you are a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective you really should give this book a read.

When Gemma finds a possibly valuable Strand Magazine signed by Arthur Conan Doyle tucked among her bookshelves she remembers the lady that came in when she was in the mist of a rush of tourist and realizes she much have put it there. Gemma finds out where the lady is staying and along with her friend Jayne goes to the hotel she is staying at to let the woman she know she found her magazine but instead finds the woman dead. Now its up to Gemma and Jayne to find out who killed this mystery woman and remove themselves as suspects no matter how many times the police tell them to stay out of the investigation.

When I first started reading this novel I started out not liking Gemma very much but as I read I began to warm up to Gemma and found myself liking her very much!

I’ve just started reading the second book in Bree Baker’s Seaside Cafe Mystery Series No Good Tea Goes Unpunished and wow what a great book so far. If you’re looking for some great beach reads I highly recommend this series.

Such a Fun Read!

My Favorite Cozy Mystery Podcasts

Hi Southernistas! Well we are 14 days into 2022 and I hope it’s going great for y’all and that y’all are being a fruitful and productive but most of all haven’t broken your resolutions (if you make one)!

Like many of you I love a good podcast mostly true crime and Christian podcasts but between the true crime and Christian podcasts I’ve discovered some great book podcasts. I am an avid reader of cozy mysteries in fact the last three posts were a wrap up of my favorite mysteries I read in 2021. So now I want to share some of my favorite cozy mystery podcasts. You can listen to these podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Goggle Podcasts or whatever platform you listen to podcasts.

Happy listening y’all!

  1. The Cozy Corner with Alexia Gordon — Alexia Gordon is the author of the Gethsemane Brown mystery series and the host of this podcast. I love this podcast and her interview style. It’s always great to hear an author interview another author about their writing process. New episodes every Wednesday. For more information you check out the podcasts website www.thecozycornerwithalexiagordon.com

2. Cozy Ink Podcast — Leah Bailey is the host and she is also a author. What I love about this podcast is that there are not only author interviews but Leah also has several authors on to discuss different aspects of publishing and writing. They give great advice and tips for aspiring authors. You can learn about Leah and the podcast on her website www.leahbaileyauthor.com. New episodes are not out yet but when she does they will come out every Tuesday.

3. Get Cozy Podcast with Krysti Meyer — Krysti discovered cozy mysteries at the beginning of 2021 and fell so in love with this genre of mysteries she decided to do a podcast and TA DAH…the Get Cozy Podcast is born. Krysti brings a millennial view point with her podcast and you clearly hear her love of cozy mysteries as she interviews the authors. Every episode deals with a particular topic in cozy mysteries the she talks with the authors about and I love it! At the end of every episode Krysti gives book recommendations. New episodes every Wednesday. You can follow the show on Instagram @getcozypodcast

4. Sister in Crime Writer’s Podcast — This podcast is hosted by Sisters in Crime Executive Director Julie Hennrikus. Julie interviews members and past presidents of Sisters in Crime about their writing journey. The authors are from every genre of mystery and don’t let the title of the podcast fool you male mystery authors are interviewed also. If you want to learn more about this organization check out their website www.sistersincrime.org.

5. Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast is produced by King’s River Magazine that features actor’s reading the first chapter of a mystery or a short story. For more information www.mysteryrat.com or http://www.kingsriverlife.com

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021 — Part 3

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

Murder in G Major (A Gethsemane Brown Mystery) by Alexia Gordon

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.

Spying in High Heels (A High Heel Mystery) by Gemma Halliday

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.

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021 — Part 2

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 accept all book recommendations!

Pup Fiction (Melanie Travis Mystery Series) by Laurien Berenson

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!

My Favorite Cozy Mysteries of 2021-Part 1

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.

  1. 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.