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Cozy Mysteries

Review: Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon #HobbyRead #StainedGlass

Pane and SufferingIt hurts, so much, when you realize that you should have spent time with your loved one – and now it is too late. That is what happened to Savannah. She thought she had all the time in the world to catch up with her father, to spend time with him. She was so caught up in her life in Seattle, working as a glass blower, setting up her two-person show, and spending time with her friends that she never really paid attention to what was going on in his life – to the warnings she didn’t catch until it was too late.

And now, it is too late. Her father is gone. And when Savannah comes back to Florida to turn his stained glass business over to Hugh, her father’s long-time friend and coworker, suddenly Hugh is dead as well. Heart attacks? At first it seems so. But when Savannah receives a threat, and things start going sideways, suddenly things aren’t what they seemed. Savannah is in danger, her father’s business is being fought over by two slimy men, a property developer and a rival of her father’s in the glass business, and Savannah has to rely on new friends to help her find the truth.

Her father left her clues. A former Cold War senior cryptographer for the US government, he was all about paranoia and secrets, games and puzzles. And unless Savannah can solve this last puzzle, she may not survive to return to Seattle. And she certainly can’t depend on the cop who the police department sends around – he just pats her on the head and condescends. Pft.

“Pane and Suffering” is very much a “hobby read.” As someone who enjoyed stained glass for many years, I truly enjoyed the story as Savannah spends her time teaching a beginning stained glass course while trying to find out who might have killed her father and Hugh. Ms. Hollon’s knowledge of the craft shone through and took be back to when I was first learning. Her characters are funny and believable, her ‘slimy’ men creeped me out, and young Jacob, her father’s apprentice who has Asperger’s Syndrome, clutched at my heart. Add in a palette of colorful students, a handsome Brit pub owner next door who seems to have an agenda of his own, and a fairly fast moving story and it kept me interested through the whole book. This isn’t some romantic “HEA” book – the ending was very good, as Savannah learns and grows, and there is an hea – a quite interesting, funny one.

If you like hobby reads, cozy mysteries, and interesting female characters, check this one out.

I received Pane and Suffering from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. And it has a nice cover too!

Shards of Murder (A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery #2)

The next book is Shards of Murder, the second book in the Webb Glass Shop Mystery Series.

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Review: Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait #CozyMystery #NeedleworkSamplers

18938930“Cleaning Woolwork: If the woolwork is not much soiled, stretch it in a frame and wash it over with a quart of water into which a tablespoon of ox gall has been dropped. If much soiled, wash with gin and soft soap, in the proportions of a quarter of a pound of soap to half a pint of gin. – The Dictionary of Needlework: An Encyclopaedia of Artistic, Plain, and Fancy Needlework, London, 1882”

The members of Mainely Needlework understand the importance, and the history, of those pieces meticulously stitched by hand and folded gently into a girl’s trousseau. Saving the old, and creating new to carry on the tradition. Now that Angie Curtis is back in Haven Harbor (well, at least for six-months. Really. Just six months, then she is back to Arizona.) she is managing her grandmother’s business, though she really knows nothing about needlework. But she is good with business and she is able to help with her grandmother’s wedding to Reverend Tom, so life is good on the Maine Coast. And when Angie and her friend Sarah are asked to appraise the contents of the old Victorian known as Aurora, a house with a dark history, things are looking up for Mainely Needlework and Angie. Sold to a famous actress, Skye West, the decrepit house is slated to be brought back to its former glory. But things aren’t quite as they seem. Skye has another agenda. Back in 1970, Jasmine Gardener, daughter of the Gardeners who owned Aurora, died. And Skye is determined to find out who murdered her.

The only problem? Angie, as a former private investigator’s assistant, is comingclose to the answer.  But someone is determined to assure that Skye doesn’t find out what happened to Jasmine. And if arsenic doesn’t work, fire might. The answers may be in the unlikeliest place – the needlework samplers stitched by Jasmine’s mother after her death and being restored by the Mainely Needlework stitchers.

This is the second in the Mainely Needlework series, but you can comfortably read it (though the first one sounds really good!)

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Lea WaitMaine author Lea Wait writes the NYT-praised 7-book Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, the latest of which is SHADWS ON A MAINE CHRISTMAS, and the Mainely Needlepoint series which debuted with TWISTED THREADS in January, 2015, and is followed by THREADS OF EVIDENCE in August, 2015, and THREAD AND GONE, in December, 215. Wait also writes acclaimed historical novels for ages 8 and up set in 19th century Maine, the latest of which, UNCERTAIN GLORY, takes place in a small northern town during the first two weeks of the Civil War. Lea’s LIVING AND WRITING ON THE COAST OF MAINE, about being an author and living year ’round in Maine with a husband who’s an artist also includes writing tips. Lea did her undergraduate work at Chatham College (now University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and her graduate work at New York University. While she was raising the four daughters she adopted as a single parent she worked as a manager for AT&T. Now she writes full time and speaks at schools and libraries. She loves rowing, visiting historical sites, and, of course, reading and writing. See her website, www.leawait.com, and the blog she writes with other Maine Mystery writers, http://www.mainecrimewriters.com, and friend her on FB and Goodreads.

 

The Returns Do The Monster Mash!

My friend MK Clinton and her heroes from her smash hit books,

The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers is out in paperback on Amazon!

The Returns (The Returns, #1)The Returns and The Returns 2: Showstoppers are doing the Monster Mash! Check them out in the video below, and if you haven’t read the books – well, why the Monster Not??

Funny, touching, and wonderfully creative, Melissa’s books are the cure for what ails you!

 

 

 

 


 

It’s Here! Bitter Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland – Book Giveaway!!

Bitter Chocolate cover

Want to win a copy of Bitter Chocolate?

Cool!

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Click to enter to win!

I held off on my review of Hot Chocolate as I waited to post the Bitter Chocolate Tour! But now that it is here, you will see my post for Hot Chocolate on the next page. Enjoy!

And now, with no further ado, my review of Bitter Chocolate!

Publisher: Artistic Origins Inc (June, 2014)
Category: Cozy Mystery
Series: Hot Chocolate Series- Book 2
Tour Date: June 30-July 30, 2014
Available in: ebook, 400 Pages, With Recipes

I admit it, as I have admitted it before. I grew up in the South. And yes, that does include Texas. Oh, I most definitely didn’t live the “gold spoon in my mouth” kind of Southern, but still, I know the voice of the South. And the voice is in full cry in this, the second in the Alcott Family Adventures series.

I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults. – Molly Ivins

How can you look at the Texas legislature and still believe in intelligent design? – Kinky Friedman

If you got the money honey I got the time and when you run out of money honey I run out of time. – Willie Nelson

When we left the Alcott ladies at the end of Hot Chocolate Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea had been through a rough time. When the husband of Bambi, the hotty blond bombshell nurse for their 92-year-old father, Bernie, was murdered the ladies found their lives turned upside down.
Now, in their true “Southern Lady” style, the girls have gone into seclusion, resting, relaxing (well, as much as three high strung Southern Ladies can relax!) And things are, of course, “interesting” again, in the “May you live in interesting times” way, as ‘baby’ Dorothea finds herself pregnant at 55 years old. Hey, aren’t you supposed to be dealing with hot flashes at 55, not morning sickness? Needless to say, Dorothea and her hubby, Henry, may be happy about the babies (!), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a lot to take in!

Twins? How wonderful!

Are you crazy? Vonnie and Charlie are in college! By the time the twins get that age, I’ll be in my seventies!” Dorothea said.
And then, of course, there is Bambi, pregnant by the selfsame 92-year-old father of the Alcott girls, (Hey! I did say in my review of the last book that Daddy was “grabby handy” right?) Now enjoying the wealthy passed on to her by her murdered husband, the disreputable Jimmy Ray Chaline, she has become close with the girls, and spends lots of time coming to grips with her new fortune and new family. So, there is a lot of baby talk going on in this newest installment. But not all is babies and butterflies, of course, and what happens next is funny, complicated and a book which could only be found in the southern climes. . .

This is a “yummy” mystery, as was quite apparent in Hot Chocolate as the girls toured Houston’s high-class restaurants, as well as the offerings of their own household cooks. And you will find recipes on the back of this volume as well – yum! And the whole funny, quirky cast returns in Bitter Chocolate as well, though a few new Houston socialites appear as well, including mute Cousin Benny, uh, make that Teddy, a victim of PTSD and yet another quirky, odd-ball character thrown into the gumbo pot of the Alcott family. And now Bernie has decided he can’t live without his Bentley.

Where’s my Bentley?

Daddy, we sold your Bentley ten years ago.

So, we add Chewie, Lila Mae’s houseman’s cousin, as Bernie’s chauffeur. Well, we never said the whole cast were WASPs!

Then there is Tilly, niece of Zoe, the wife of Alcott family attorney, Walter Branson. We first met Tilly, of course, in Hot Chocolate, when the hard drinking, coke snorting thirty-two-year-old came for a visit, and was subsequently accused of murdering the unctuous Jimmy Ray. Now, cleared of forking over Jimmy Ray, she is being forced by the family to dry out and get a life real life. But the whole “getting a real life” thing runs into a wall when Tilly’s gangster daddy is found murdered. What’s a rich, entitled, chocolate loving family to do?

Ireland’s characters, setting, and attitude are purely River Oaks Houston Southern. Mansions and food, shopping in the best boutiques and food, oh, and chocolate and food, let’s not forget Alcott Chocolates! I will admit, I found this a more refined and readable volume of the Alcott Family Adventures. I still found the constant references to just how much money these people wallow in to be rather, well, snobby I suppose you could say. A half-dozen Bentley’s at $276,000 a pop, all by themselves could feed poor families for several years. Be that as it may, the wealth is the backbone of the storyline, and I was able to put it aside as being important to Ireland’s tale.

I received this book from Ms. Ireland in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

BLURB:

The characters you loved in Hot Chocolate are back with more escapades of life in Houston’s wealthy River Oaks.

Lila Mae is in a tizzy over the Chocolate Ball – a huge event that she and her sisters, Dorothea and Madge, host every year. But due to unusual circumstances, Dorothea and Madge dump everything in Lila Mae’s lap. If it weren’t for Julian Gillespie of Event Is King, the Chocolate Ball would have melted.

Bernie, the Alcott sisters’ 92-year-old father, decides he wants his Bentley back. The sisters and Bambi are horrified. They hire Joseph’s cousin Chewie as Bernie’s new chauffeur.

Wolfram, Lila Mae’s new astrologer, gives clues of things to come. This leaves Lila Mae and her sidekick Amelia with brows furrowed.

On her day off, Amelia decides to bake a chocolate blueberry pie. She discovers she needs to make a grocery run. When she returns home, she discovers her kitchen door is slightly ajar. Arms loaded with groceries, she toes the door open.

Three things catch her attention: a vase of flowers on the kitchen island that was not there when she left the house, her marble rolling pin covered with blood… and a dead body on her kitchen floor.

Amelia’s eyes drift toward the dining room and beyond – is the house empty, or is there a murderer inside? She backs up, turns and hurries outside. After setting the bags on the ground, she slips back into the kitchen and snaps a picture of the dead guy. Then she calls Detective Chance Walker, Lila Mae and finally… 9-1-1.

Praise for Hot Chocolate:

“This cozy mystery is a raucous romp.  A light, quick read, it is laugh-out-loud funny all the way through except maybe for the scene when the murder victim is discovered and the scene when the murderer declares themselves tho even those two scenes have elements of slapstick visuals incorporated into them.

The plot is quite masterfully constructed and kept me guessing right up to the moment the culprit was revealed and that is not easy to do as I’ve read or watched so many mystery stories I often figure it out well before the halfway point.

Where the story truly shines though is through the characters of which there are many yet each one is fully rounded and uniquely eccentric.

Food itself is nearly a character in the story and several of the recipes featured in scenes are included in full at the end of the novel.”-Joy Renee Davis, Joystory”

“Hot Chocolate is a captivating tale with vivid and fun characters. I could almost visualize myself socializing with them, and I definitely enjoyed their interactions with one another. They felt like real sisters, albeit high-society ones.

All the players are in place, and we think we have them figured out. So when something unexpected happens one night at the bowling alley, the Alcotts, Bambi, and countless others are caught up in a mystery that had me turning pages rapidly. Who or what could be responsible for the shocking events? What will Bambi discover when she starts searching through her husband’s dresser drawers and files? And what other surprises await the Alcotts?

Through all the excitement and intrigue, we are gifted with wonderfully descriptive moments in the lives of the characters, including the delicious food they enjoy. The dishes are presented so realistically that I could almost taste them. As a final pleasing treat, there are several wonderful recipes at the end of the book. A five star read.”-Laurel Rain Snow, Chocolate and Mimosas

“Hot Chocolate is a light-hearted Southern comedy. The Alcott sisters are the epitome of Southern culture. They are each other’s fiercest enemy and closest companion.

One of my all-time favorite shows is Designing Women. The Alcott sisters, Dorothea, Lila Mae, and Madge could be the Sugarbaker women. Picture Suzanne Sugarbaker every time you read something about Dorothea and you’ll be rolling on the floor laughing every time she hollers and faints. It doesn’t get better than this.

The plot is well written and from the very first page there is no doubt these women live chocolate as much as the company they own makes chocolate. From the cocoa colored Bentleys to the hot chocolate they start their day with, this book is full of chocolate – what could be better than that?! The characters were dazzling creatures and full of spunk making the book an enjoyable read. I found no grammatical errors and the book ended with a surprise you won’t see coming, a definite plus in book world.” – Donna McBroom-Theriot, My Life, One Story At a Time

“I never read anything by Dawn Greenfield Ireland before, but she definitely knows how to write mysteries the way I like them. The story is filled with twists, turns and eccentric characters that are essential in writing a cozy mystery. It’s fast-paced and keeps the readers on their toes. There are also some giggles and a dash of romance thrown into the mix. At the end, she includes some yummy recipes that are featured in the book. Suddenly I’m in desperate need of a hot chocolate with some marshmallow fluff.

This book is delicious!”- Yvonne, Socrates Book Review

“I love reading a good cozy mystery and when it’s paired with good old fashioned southern charm and whit well I’m sold! “Hot Chocolate” by Dawn Greenland Ireland    gave me that plus a plenty of offbeat characters,along with a fast moving plot with a murder mystery woven in,  sprinkled together with a liberal amount of humor in to make this a book that I just couldn’t read fast enough!

As I read this story I couldn’t help but think that it would make an awesome movie. Set in the south with more than a few quirky characters that had me laughing out loud on several occasions.As I read the story I found the characters getting stuck in my head and could just imagine their southern twang.

If you enjoy reading a fast paced mystery that has more twists than a winding country road, along with vivid descriptions of people, food and places that will grab your imagination and hold on tight until the final page your certainly going to enjoy “Hot Chocolate.” I loved this author’s storytelling ability and look forward to reading more of her work.”-Brenda Casto, VW Stitcher

About Dawn Greenfield Ireland:

Dawn Ireland is the CEO of Artistic Origins Inc, a 100% woman-owned publishing and technical writing service company that has been doing business since 1995. She’s an award winning independent publisher and author of The Puppy Baby Book , Mastering Your Money, and Amazon Best Seller Hot Chocolate (the first in the series, and her fifth novel). The Hot Chocolate audio book was awarded the AudioFile Earphones Award on Valentine’s Day 2014.

Her family feature film screenplay A Girl and Her Dog was awarded a Kids First! Endorsement by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media in October 2012 and optioned by Shadow Cave Productions in February 2013.

Originally from Feeding Hills, MA, Dawn migrated to San Antonio in 1968, then when her first son was one years old, her family moved to Houston where work was more plentiful. After 40+ years of heat and humidity, she has her sights on the Pacific NW.

Dawn is the co-author of the animated screenplay Memoirs of a Dog which won the Spirit Award of the Moondance Film Festival (children’s category) September 2011. Her dark comedy Plan B was a finalist in the Table Read My Screenplay script competition in 2010 and years before that, Standing Dead won the Women in Film and Television (Houston Chapter) screenplay award.

Stay tuned for The Last Dog (futuristic/sci-fi 2015), and Spicy Chocolate (2016).

 

My Audiobook Monthly Review of Linda Lovely’s No Wake Zone

no wake zone
The second in this series. Click the cover to go to Linda Lovely’s goodreads site! The first book is now on my reading list – I am sure it will be worth an early read!

My review of No Wake Zone by Linda Lovely was published in Audiobook Monthly Magazine! Like Dream Student by J.J. DiBenedetto my review was featured in Volume 2 of this wonderful new magazine.

Click the book cover to read Audiobook Monthly. You won’t be disappointed! And here is my review of No Wake Zone:

In the nearer term, I think various developments in biotechnology and synthetic biology are quite disconcerting. We are gaining the ability to create designer pathogens, and there are these blueprints of various disease organisms that are in the public domain – you can download the gene sequence for smallpox or the 1918 flu virus from the Internet. -Nick Bostrom

Jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire. – Solomon Ibn Gabirol

Marley is more than ready for a vacation. After her adventures in Dear Killer, the first in the Marley Clark mystery series, going home to visit her 79-year-old feisty aunt May and her much-loved cousin Ross in small-town Iowa seems just the thing to relax. Boy, has Marley got it wrong.

Volunteering at the last-minute to waitress for Cousin Ross on his double-decker excursion boat, “The Queen”, Marley is surprised to find that the wedding reception for local billionaire Jake Olsen is to celebrate his marriage to her best friend from college, Darlene Sherbert. But the surprises don’t stop there as Marley witnesses Jake flying over the stern of the Queen and into the icy Okoboji lake waters. Diving to the rescue Marley, a 52-year-old retired Army colonel, finds herself not thanked for her attempted rescue, but instead relegated to leading the suspect list. What’s a retired Army intelligence officer to do, but investigate?

Convoluted, vicious family battles over the will lead police on a wild chase, as family members drop dead one after the other. Things get worse when one of Marley’s old enemies, Quentin Hamilton, arrives on the scene. Tasked with protecting not only Jake, but also his biotech empire, losing his client is sure to drive Hamilton wild. And who better to subject to his ire than Marley, whose recommendation he believes cost Hamilton an important military contract?

While furiously jealous heirs brawling over a billion dollar inheritance seems the most logical reason for bodies falling left, right, and sideways, all is not as it seems. For the situation is much direr than first assumed. Jake’s firm conducts biological materials research for the military – and missing materials are killing the heirs.

Our conversation veered to the topic of scientific advances and their potential for good or evil.

With help from her cousin Ross, her former Pentagon boss, General Irvine, and FBI agent Sherry Weaver, Marley must help find the murderer before more die, and before the biologicals originally meant to save lives instead slaughter millions. At the same time Marley must protect her aunt, while also enjoying a blooming relationship with local attorney Duncan James.

dearkiller
Click to purchase Dear Killer, the first Marley Clark Mystery. You don’t have to buy them in order, but why not read them that way?

What happens, and why, makes for an edge-of-your seat thrill ride which will keep you guessing. Linda Lovely balances suspense and thrills with a strong theme of family, both the good aspects and the bad. Marley is one of my new favorite heroines. Sure, she is a retiree, but she is still a vivacious and active woman, with a healthy sex drive to boot. Marley, all of us “Boomer Ladies” salute you!

I received No Wake Zone from the author via Audiobook Monthly in return for my honest review. As you can tell, I enjoyed the book immensely. I have spent hundreds of hours enjoying audio books, from literary classics like Frankenstein and Little Women to modern stories of the quirky, the romantic, the terrifying and everything in between. What is not to like? I can listen to my books while doing other things such as quilting or knitting, or even working in my flower beds. Or I can simply curl up in a chair with a quilt and a cup of tea, close my eyes, and enter a new and wonderful world.

The pleasure of an exceptional narrator can add further levels of enjoyment, actually making me part of the story. Sadly, the narrator for No Wake Zone falls into the “not as pleasurable” zone for this reader, however this is solely a case of personal preference.

Overall, I truly enjoyed Linda Lovely’s No Wake Zone and have purchased Dear Killer, the first in the Marley Clark series. However, I purchased the electronic version rather than the Audible edition to increase my reading pleasure. I will also be watching closely for Ms. Lovely’s next Marley Clark adventure, With Neighbors Like These.

I received No Wake Zone from Susan Keefe, CEO of Audiobook Monthly in return for a realistic review for her magazine. All thoughts are my own.

lovely
Check out the Linda’s commentary on Audiobookmonthly.com

A native of Iowa, Linda has called the South home for more than thirty years. She lives with her husband beside a peaceful South Carolina lake, where she regularly perturbs the geese and one honking big turtle by jumping off her dock for a swim or pedaling (yes, pedaling not paddling) her kayak.

Linda is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the South Carolina Writers Workshop. She feels quite lucky to have found both close friends and exceptional critique partners—snarky, funny, talented and generous—through these writer organizations.

M.K. Clinton’s “Returns” Is a True “Showstopper”!

Royal Certificates

Let’s all congratulation M.K. Clinton on her Indie Book Of The Day Status! Click the link if you don’t already have a copy of “The Returns!

Mark Your Calendar! Thursday Is Cupcake Day!

dowserbanner
Check out the first two. Like chocolate, you won’t be able to resist the third!

I can hardly wait! going to go back and give the first two a quick read so that I am prepared for the next!!

And don’t forget Meghan’s other wonderful books! These are new covers for the Dowser series, but her other works have great covers as well, and you can even see the old-style cover for Cupcakes below.

doidge
Click for Meghan’s Goodreads page!

Review: Maddie’s Choice – Joyce Zeller Highly Recommended!

maddie
Loved the book. And that cover is beautiful!

What do I like the most about this book? Hummm. Maybe it is the setting, the hills of Arkansas, south of Fayetteville? It is gorgeous there. Maybe it is Maddie herself, a gifted New York romance author, suffering from burnout, writer’s block and a bad case of boring boyfriend – who suddenly finds herself half owner of an Arkansas cattle ranch? It could, of course, be the ensemble cast of characters, a mix of quirky, scary, funny, kind, and just plain insane that ramble around the property and it’s environs. Talk about an odd fit – a full on city girl, plopped down amongst the cattle, and trying desperately to understand not only the language (Fetvuhl is “southernese” for Fayetteville) but also the difference between ‘cows’ and ‘cattle’ (there really is a difference, of course!) and what in the world a “Wal-Mart’ could possibly be? I had giggle fits like mad when Ms. Zeller threw in a “language zinger” or two – though Maddie didn’t run across it as much after her first meeting with one of her most touching characters, Fayrene, which was sort of a shame. It is a character-driven novel, beautifully layered and widely ranging.

This is, overall, a gently comic contemporary romance, but I admire and respect Ms. Zeller for writing a book that is much more than a simplistic little novel. Those parts are good, many funny and sweet. The children are heart wrenching, having lost all their family except for a distant and deeply troubled uncle. And Maddie’s relationship with the big, scary Angus bull is hysterical. The part that is absolutely fantastic however, raising the book from a five star romance to a ten-plus star smash hit? The stories within the story – important, heart wrenching stories of poverty and brutality, drugs and ‘cook houses’ and the power of motorcycle gangs in a poverty stricken area. But most of all, what touched me the deepest – the horrors suffered by victims of PTSD, those men and women who return from the mindless, rampant cruelties of war broken and tortured in body, mind, and spirit. Ms. Zeller was in the Army herself, and speaks to the pain of the victims with a breadth of knowledge and a depth of compassion rarely seen in literature. My soul throbbed in sympathy for Gideon, breaking my heart as I watched his torment, his shame, the depth of his agony.  Not overdone, but certainly a strong enough theme to make this book much more than the sum of its parts.

Overall, even if you don’t like “romance” novels, if you are interested in solid writing with an eye to the craft, believable story line, and a variety of themes, this is a highly recommended read. I will absolutely be placing more of Ms. Zeller’s work onto my TBR pile (and somewhere near the top!)

 

Review: Murder, Lies & Chocolate by Sally Berneathy

murderlieschocolate
Quirky characters and great chocolate makes this a great way to wile away a cold, snowy Sunday!
Click to go to goodreads

There are a lot of what I call “Bakery Mysteries” out there. There is a whole list at: http://cozy-mysteries-unlimited.com/bakery-dessert-list that are, well, delicious. Some are quite yummy, some not. In this case, Sally Berneathy’s Murder, Lies and Chocolate was my first taste of her work, and I found it quite creamy and with a pleasant mouth feel. (Grin)

This isn’t the first in the series, but I did not feel out of place starting my taste of Berneathy here. The story was well paced and I never felt that I was missing parts by not having started at the very beginning. Lindsay runs “Death By Chocolate” a restaurant featuring not only lunch, but luscious chocolate desserts (yes, there are recipes in the back, and they sound marvelous!!!!) She runs the restaurant with her friend Paula who lives next door to Lindsay with her son, two and a half year old Zack. Lindsay’s other best friend, Fred, lives in the house on the other side of her. Fred is a day trader. Or maybe a hacker. Or maybe an undercover agent for MI-6 or the CIA or something. Who knows? Lindsay doesn’t, but that doesn’t keep her from trying to find out!

Rounding out the cast is King Henry, Lindsay’s huge white and yellow  “Attack Cat,” Trent the police detective and maybe boyfriend to Lindsay – that is, if she can ever get rid of her useless, self centred, spineless “I want him to be ex if he will ever sign the damn papers” husband, Rick the dirty real estate agent. And boy, is he ever a piece of work!

Lindsay’s day starts off with the unctuous Rick showing up in the restaurant with a criminal wanting to buy Lindsay’s house for twice it’s value. Things go downhill from there when the man drops dead in front of the restaurant, leading to a chain of break-ins, arson, and homicides. Lindsay herself is smart, snarky, and impatient, but not as dumb as some of the other “bakery mystery” characters, and nowhere near as self centred and irritating as, say, Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen. I had to put those down after the first few. The whole ‘love triangle’ and acting like she was some kind of puffed up, ‘real live detective’ just didn’t do it for me. Lindsay sits on the edge – not quite dumb enough to think she can do it all by herself – and besides, she has Fred the Superhuman Next Door Neighbor to back her up. Whats not to like about a guy who shows up with a machine gun he “found in his attic” to run off the smarmy ex?

death_by_chocolate_0
Click to see “Death By Chocolate” the first in the series, and then
check out Cozy Mysteries Unlimited and their lists of tasty mystery series!

Overall, this was a 99 cent investment I was happy to pick up from Amazon. I just looked, this is number two in the series, the first one is Death By Chocolate and features Paula. In the blurb about that one, Paula dyes her blond hair brown, hides from everybody and insists on always having an emergency exit from any room. Secrets from Paula’s past have come back to put lives in jeopardy. I will admit it is kind of a bummer to know the outcome of the Paula edition because I read the second one first, but I have no doubt I will enjoy reading the book anyway.

This is recommended for anyone who likes a good, solid cozy mystery who also loves and adores CHOCOLATE! Yep, that’s me!

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