Showing posts with label cozy mysteries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cozy mysteries. Show all posts

Monday, August 29, 2022

Cozy Mystery Review: Mabel Get the Ax (Mysteries of Medicine Spring Book 1) by Susan Kimmel Wright

What it’s About:

Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t get the ax first.

After losing her job of twenty-three years, Mabel decides to launch what will surely be a glamorous new career as an author. Having recently inherited her late grandmother’s house, she has the freedom to spend time volunteering and writing about her experiences.

Unfortunately, Mabel’s plans soon go off the rails. Her inheritance comes with decades of clutter, an overgrown lot, a dog named Barnacle, and a neighbor with an ax to grind. And her first assignment as a Medicine Spring Historical Society volunteer is to lead a tour of the Sauer Mansion, locally known as the “Ax Murder House,” site of a notorious 1930’s double homicide.

As Mabel shepherds her tour group through the house, it appears history’s repeating itself when she stumbles across a body in the parlor. Finding herself on the suspect list, Mabel scrambles to figure out who swung the fatal ax. In the process, she can’t help being drawn into investigating the unsolved historic murders, teamed up with PI John Bigelow, a man she isn’t sure she can trust. With an ax murderer on the loose, will Mabel be next?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading book one of the Mysteries of Medicine Springs series. Mabel is a hoot. She’s older, awkward, and self-deprecating. The woman tries so hard to do the right thing, and sometimes that gets her into deep trouble. John is the perfect balance for her, but in her heart she’s not sure she can trust him. She’s not sure she can trust anyone. Through all the escapades and efforts, Mabel plows forward to find the truth. If you enjoy cozies sprinkled with humor and quirky characters, you’ll enjoy Mabel Gets the Ax. I read this copy from Kindle Unlimited.


Monday, August 1, 2022

Cozy Mystery Review: Murder Goes Solo by Malissa Chapin Book Description:

What's the Story?
Piper Haydn is on the case when murder comes to peaceful Cranberry Harbor, Wisconsin. With her piano recital hours away, Piper's last need is a piano problem—or a murder problem! When her new piano arrives with the body of her ex-fiancĂ© inside, suspicion rests on Piper. To avoid a murder charge, she must shift her attention from music to murder. With a killer at large, Piper calls off the recital and closes the academy. Believing that she and her friends can solve the murder, Piper tries to clear her name and tries to discover what happened to her secretary Lisa. As the investigation crescendos, Piper leans on the support and creativity of her best friend Roosevelt and fellow music teacher Trefor to help solve the crime. Can Piper and friends solve the mystery before the killer solos in on another victim?

My Thoughts:
Murder Goes Solo is a well-written and fun mystery. Poor Piper is faced with a terrible situation. The new and very expensive piano she ordered arrives with a dead body. Not just any bodyher lifeless ex-boyfriend. Piper and her best friend Rosie work to figure out who killed him. In the meantime, they have to avoid the press and work with the “Hunky” police officer. Piper’s family tries to protect her, but she’s determined to bring the killer to justice. Chapin does a beautiful job weaving in Piper’s love of music and sets up a great cozy story. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you’ll love Murder Goes Solo. I hope there are more books about Piper, her bestie, and maybe even the “Hunky officer.” I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Cozy Mystery Review: The Unwelcome Wagon (Book & Mug Mysteries 1) by Michelle L. Levigne

Book Description:
Saundra Bailey has a rough few first days after moving to Camden Township to be the new children's librarian. First a strange man who smells of cheap cigars tries to get into her apartment, then she’s caught between two Welcome Wagon teams, which results in her feeling rather unwelcome. When Cigar Man later tries to steal her purse, she meets Kai, owner of Book & Mug, a coffee shop and bookstore. Cigar Man tried to break into the building Kai owns with his cousins, Eden and Troy, after trying to hire Eden, an investigator, to find lost family documents.

As Saundra settles into her new job and home, she learns about the political and social feuds and alliances in town. Then Cigar Man breaks into the Book & Mug building in the middle of the night, falls from a fire escape, and dies. The hunt is on to figure out what he was looking for, who was the other man with him when he fell, and whose side the mysterious accomplice is on.

Head Trustee Roger Camden, descendant of a founding father, has a growing list of grudges against the cousins and gets in the way of their investigation. Their building used to belong to his family. He accuses them of being in league with Cigar Man, who apparently was seeking Camden family documents. The foursome scramble to put together clues and identify Cigar Man’s accomplice before he hurts more people and makes more evidence and clues vanish.

My Thoughts:
The Unwelcome Wagon is filled with quirky characters, including new to Camden Township, Saundra. She moved to town as the children's librarian and ends up in the middle of a mystery. I liked the cousins, Kai, Eden, and Troy and hope to learn more of their story throughout the series. The township is laced with turmoil when a man breaking into places dies. Saundra, with the help of her new friends, and an old friend, sleuth about town until they find the truth. I enjoyed Michele Levigne's storytelling as she wove together clues, red herrings, and humor. If you're a cozy mystery reader, you'll want to check out this new series. I'm looking forward to the next one. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Available April 1, 2022, and now up for preorder from major book sellers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Cozy Mystery Review: Caught and Collared by Jackie Layton (A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery, book #4)

Book Description:

When a scavenger hunt turns up a dead body, dog walker Andi Grace Scott will have to make a dogged effort to collar the culprit . . .


Setting out for a day of fun on her town’s first-ever scavenger hunt, Low Country dog walker Andi Grace Scott is dismayed to find an unattended dog wandering the streets—but that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she finds a dead man floating in the swimming pool of the dog’s owner. What’s more, she’d seen the very same man having a very public altercation with his wife just the night before. Despite being warned off the case by the local sheriff, Andi Grace can’t help nosing around to find out who’s behind the foul deed.

It turns out the victim was a well-known radio personality who focused on cold-case investigations and was rumored to be breaking a huge story on his next show. As Andi Grace digs deeper to learn who may have wanted him dead, she’s faced with a suspect list that includes a cold-hearted widow who stands to inherit a bundle, a local country star with family demons to hide, and any number of unknown criminals who may have been the focus of the victim’s big reveal. Whether the motive was love gone bad, a career under duress, or a killer’s deadly secret, Andi Grace knows she’ll have to act fast before she becomes the next cold case herself . . .

My Thoughts:
I love, love, love Jackie Layton's cozies. Andi Grace's nosey to know personality draws her into another murder in her beach town. Filled with quirky characters and a seaside setting, Caught and Collared brings Andi Grace and her fiancé Marc into the world of podcasts and cold-cases. All the wonderful pups add a delightful twist to the story. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, Layton's books should be on your to-be-read pile. I purchased a copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Cozy Mystery Review: Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery by Jackie Layton

Book Description:

Does one good turn deserve a murder?

Despite all her good intentions to focus on a healthy lifestyle and leave crime solving to the professionals, Andi Grace Scott has run right smack into another investigation--literally. Who’d have thought caring for stray cats and a healthy morning beach run could lead to murder?

Andi Grace has found another body and a young woman who needs help. Solving this puzzle will come with a cost. This time, catching the killer will require Andi Grace to confront her past relationships and truths about her deceased mother.

My Review:
I love Andi Grace Scott. Despite wanting to live a simple life, she winds up in the middle of a murder investigation, again, and helps a young woman with a rough past. And who wouldn't love Marc Williams, Andi's patient and attentive boyfriend. There were some surprises and twists I didn't expect, which makes the book that much more appealing. Bag of Bones, the third Low Country Dog Walker mystery is a great story. It's one of those series, when I finish reading, I miss the characters and hope there's another book coming. I have enjoyed all of Jackie Layton's Low Country Dog Walker books. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you'll love Jackie Layton's books. I purchased this copy, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Cozy Mystery Review: Bite the Dust: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery by Jackie Layton


Book Description:
Secrets can be deadly.

One steamy South Carolina morning, Low Country dog walker Andi Grace Scott discovers a client’s dead body. Police quickly decide she’s the prime suspect. Horrified, she knows she’ll have to turn detective if she’s going to convince them they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Proving her innocence could be a tall order. The local police never solved the hit-and-run that killed her parents; Andi Grace isn’t sure they’ll solve this crime either…not when they have a convenient suspect—one caught with the possible murder weapon in her hand. She’ll have to follow every clue and call in every favor, even if that puts her in danger.

My Review:
I love Jackie's cozy mysteries. Andi Grace is a plucky, determined, and caring dog walker. In book one she's trying to get her business off the ground when her dear friend and client is killed. Unfortunately the detective on the case pegs Andi Grace as a suspect. With help from a handsome new friend, she investigates the murder and discovers an unbelievable secret. The Low Country is the perfect place to spend some time as the story unfolds. I've read and reviewed book two of the series, Dog-Gone Dead, and loved it, too. If you enjoy clean, cozy mysteries, you'll love this book. Take this one on vacation! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

Read about Jackie here.




Monday, July 6, 2020

An Interview With Author Jackie Layton

I love cozy mysteries. Often set in small towns with quirky characters, the stories offer an escape and a bit of fun detective work. Last month I came across a cozy I loved, Dog-Gone Dead by Jackie Layton. The author's name sounded familiar. She and I had met on Instagram several years back. I was so excited to see her published!

I invited Jackie to tell us about her writing journey:

Hi Penny, 
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog! 
I began my writing journey while my youngest son was in high school. I took online classes and attended conferences to learn more about the craft of writing. I worked full time and went to tennis matches and all the other things mothers do.

From the beginning, my husband has been very supportive. I appreciate him more than you know. I started out writing romances and romantic suspense stories. I did well in contests, but whatever I pitched to publishers was never the right fit for what they were looking for that year.

I’m a member of ACFW, and the last conference I attended was a huge turning point in my writing. I met with an editor looking for authors interested in writing cozy mysteries. As we chatted, a peace fell over me. I have always loved reading cozies, but at conferences romantic suspense was the thing everybody wanted. Very few authors were writing mysteries.

After that meeting, I prayed about my conversation with the editor. I began writing my first cozy mystery. I often learn by doing. It’s probably not the most efficient way to write, but it’s what works for me. I visited cozy mystery websites and studied the craft of mystery writing.

One of the most special aspects of cozies to me is the characters. I love that so many cozies are written as series. It allows each character to grow throughout the series.


I keep my notes in Scrivener, and I have secret Pinterest boards to help me keep up with details. I also have public boards so readers can get to know my characters and setting better. 
I’ve always loved the beach, and I set my first series on the coast of South Carolina. Heyward Beach is a fictional town with some of my favorite elements from various coastal towns. It’s got the small-town vibe, and I hope readers enjoy visiting Heyward Beach.


Thank you, Jackie. I love how God worked in your writing and gave you a sense of peace as you pursued the cozy mystery genre. I'll be reading Bite the Dust: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery, your first book in this delightful series. Read more about Jackie on her website.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Cozy Mystery Book Review: Dog-Gone Dead: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery (2) by Jackie Layton


Book Description:
Who’d have thought mulch could cause such a stink?

Low Country dog walker Andi Grace Scott is happy to score some free mulch from one of her brother’s landscaping jobs—until she discovers the dead body buried beneath the bark.

Worse, her brother’s landscaping tools were used to commit the murder. Once the police arrest her brother and seem happy to have “caught their man,” Andi Grace has no choice but to track down the real killer. She’ll risk everything to prove her brother’s innocence. Even if it means turning over every rock in town.

If you love small-town coastal life, dogs, and strong heroines, you’ll love Dog-Gone Dead.

My Review:
I love cozy mysteries. Dog-Gone Dead is one of the best I've read. Andi Grace is a delightful, determined young woman who wants her brother freed. She snoops in all the wrong places and gets herself in trouble with the local police. As she solves this murder mystery she and her sweet dog will endear themselves to you. Just as they did me. And you just might find a bit of romance. I love the setting. Makes me want to head to the beach. I haven't read book one of the series, but I have it downloaded on my Kindle and ready to be read. If you enjoy clean, cozy mysteries, you'll love this book. Take this one on vacation! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Cozy Mystery Review: The Coffee Club Mysteries: 6 Whodunits by Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Elizabeth Ludwig, Dana Mentink, Candice Prentice, Janice Thompson


Description:
Six Mysteries Are Brewing in Small-Town Kansas

The coffee shop on the corner of First and Main in Oak Grove, Kansas, seems to attract a series of mysterious events. Or perhaps it is the six women who frequent the shop for book club who are the magnets for trouble. . . .
 

Morgan Butler, owner of the Coffee Perk, finds a project worker hanged at her shop.

Evelyn Kliff discovers a church meal organizer dead.

Harper Daggett is being stalked for an antique jade owl she bought.

Baker Jeanine Gransbury’s charity event money goes missing.

Jo Anderson shares hazelnut coffee creamer, sending a man into anaphylaxis shock.

Penny Parson finds a gun in one of her beehives.

Join them as they unravel six unexplained events that have the potential to ruin business and spoil friendships if not handled with care.

My Review:
The Coffee Club Mysteries is a delectable collection of cozy mysteries. I enjoyed each of the six stories. Even though they are all written by different authors, they connect in unique ways. I love that the ladies are tied together as a book club, even though they spend more time solving crimes than discussing books. If you enjoy mysteries, this is the perfect book to cozy up with on a winter day. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing, Inc. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.