Sunday, July 31, 2016

REVIEW: An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

An Untimely Frost
Author: Penny Richards

**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

This book was a pleasant surprise. With its feisty main character, Lilly Long, and several suspenseful plot twists, this was a great read!

In 1881, women were limited in their career choices. Actress Lilly Long feels looked down on by society because of her career on the stage. After all of her money is stolen by her abusive husband, she finds herself applying for yet another edgy career choice for a woman: detective. Desperate for money and wanting to move on with her life, she answers an advertisement placed by the Pinkerton Agency seeking female detectives. Using her acting skills and few well-told lies to secure the job, she soon finds her skills and intelligence put to the test as a Pinkerton Agent.

This is the first book in the Lilly Long series set in 1880s Chicago. The book is an intriguing historical mystery with just a hint of romance. The mystery portion of the plot was well-written with plenty of twists and suspense. I figured out some portions of the plot, but I have to say that the ending was a surprise.

I can't wait for the next book in this series! Readers who enjoy historical mysteries and historical romance will love this book!

This is the first mystery written by Penny Richards. She has published several romance novels including the Calloway Corners and the Wolf Creek series. She has also written romance books under the pseudonym Bay Matthews, and co-authored books as Sandi Shane with writer Sandra Canfield.

REVIEW: The Spirit Chaser

The Spirit Chaser
Author: Kat Mayor

**I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I am a big fan of ghost stories and horror. When I saw this book on NetGalley, I jumped on the chance to review it. I'm glad I did. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but it kept my attention.

The basic premise has been used many times before -- television ghost hunting group encounters demon, much battling ensues. Add in some steamy sex and you have The Spirit Chaser.

The basic plot: Austin Cole stars in a hit reality show, Spirit Chaser Investigations. After one of his crew is injured, psychic Casey Lawson joins the team. The two butt heads a bit as they have different opinions and thoughts about how the show and spirit hunting should be done. When the team meets up with a demon and one of their own is attacked, they pull together to defeat the evil in their midst.

This book kept my attention and I enjoyed it, but it had a tendency to be a bit cliche. At one point, a ghost hunter spoke to the spirit they were hunting and said "What do you want?'' and the spirit replied "Get out!'' bit overused? But I think with the saturation of this portion of the horror/paranormal genre -- ghost hunters, reality tv, demon hunting, etc -- anyone's story would seem a bit old hat at times.

The book is a mix of horror/paranormal and romance. Everyone needs a little hot action after hunting ghosts and fighting demons, right? :) The story was well told, jumping right into the action from the first page. At times Mayor's writing style was a bit rough and the dialogue could have been better, but this is her first book. I look forward to reading her next one!

All in all, a good read. I enjoyed it. Anyone who is a fan of paranormal romance would enjoy this book.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

REVIEW: Murder at Fontainebleau by Amanda Carmack

Murder at Fontainebleau
Author: Amanda Carmack

**I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This does not affect the content of this fair, honest review**

Murder at Fontainebleau is the 5th book in the Elizabethan Mystery series by Amanda Carmack. I have not read any of the other books in this series. I loved this book -- so I will definitely be reading the rest!

The year is 1561, Queen Elizabeth 1 is on the throne of England. But her claim to the throne is challenged by her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. Mary still resides in France following the death of her husband, but may soon choose to return to Scotland, or remarry. Queen Elizabeth sends a party of trusted members of her court to Fontainebleau to visit the French royal court. Included in the group is Kate Haywood, royal musician. Kate is on a mission for her queen, carrying secret letters and observing the French court to glean information about Mary's intentions. When a member of their group is murdered, Kate must also discover the killer's identity before their mission is discovered or the incident used to discredit Queen Elizabeth. 

Royalty. Ambition. Courtiers. Deceit. And, murder. It's all in this book. As I read the story, I found myself swept into imaginings of the pomp and mystery of the English and French royal courts, the political intrigue, and the constant jostling for position. Carmack's descriptions of the fashions, entertainment, relationships, dangers and secrets of life at court are vivid and engaging. I was totally engrossed in the story. The mixture of historical fact and fiction was perfect! I love studying history, especially the Elizabethan era. Fashioning a murder mystery around the actual conflict between Elizabeth and her cousin Mary made for a great read! 

The cover art for this book is amazing! 

All in all, a great book! The mystery portion of the plot was engaging and well-paced. The history and mystery portions of the story were well-balanced and kept my interest throughout. I was engrossed in the story from beginning to end. As a history buff and mystery lover, this series is perfect for me! I will definitely be reading the rest of this series! 

Amanda Carmack is a pseudonym used by award-winning romance author, Amanda McCabe. McCabe has published many novels, including Winter Queen and To Tame a Rogue. Learn more about the Elizabethan Mystery series at the author's website: . 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

REVIEW: The Last Town by Blake Crouch

The Last Town
Author: Blake Crouch

The Last Town is the final book in the Wayward Pines trilogy.

I usually don't read an entire series very quickly. I read one book then wander to other genres before coming back to read the next book. Not this time. I read all 3 books in this series within days. I just couldn't stop reading. Even though I already knew the basic plot (season 1 of the television show covers the entire series), I found myself totally engrossed in the story.

I did have to mindfully suspend reality, as the science was more than a bit far-fetched. Long term suspended animation is so far not possible, but is the basic premise behind Wayward Pines. I found the premise fascinating enough to get me past that little voice in my head that wanted to call BS. The last remnants of the human race fighting for survival in a hostile environment was enough to keep me reading.

In book 3, the residents of Wayward Pines have discovered the town's secret. They begin to rebel, causing the man who created the town to declare himself god, and bring down his wrath against the citizens of Wayward Pines.

In a bloody, gut-wrenching finale, the last speck of humanity on Earth faces the biggest challenge in history: extinction.

I loved this series! I decided to postpone watching Season 2 of the television show until I had read the books. The television show covered the entire trilogy in season 1, so is now branching off into new territory.  As with most television adaptations, the show deviated from the books quite a bit. The basic plot is intact, but some characters, plot points and outcomes are very different between the two versions. I wanted to enjoy Crouch's books without any interference from the continuing television story.  The final sentence of the trilogy was a powerful and perfect ending. But it left me wondering.....then what happened??  Maybe the television series will give me an answer to that question, as Crouch has said that there most likely will be no more Wayward Pines books.

Crouch has written several other books including Abandon, Desert Places, Snow Bound and Run. His newest book, Dark Matter, is being released July 26th.

REVIEW: Final Sentence by Daryl Wood Gerber

Final Sentence
Author: Daryl Wood Gerber

I collect cookbooks. I have two large bookshelves filled with them....nearly every sort....desserts, main courses, foreign cuisines, and even fondue. When I found out there was a cozy mystery series about a cookbook shop, The Cookbook Nook, I knew it was a series I would love.

Final Sentence is the first book in the Cookbook Nook series, and also the first book by Gerber that I have read. She writes another cozy series, The Cheese Shop Mysteries, under the pen-name Avery Aames. There are 4 books in the Cookbook Nook series so far, with the 5th coming out in August 2016. Gerber has also written a suspense novel, Girl on the Run.

Just a quick synopsis: Jenna Hart leaves her job as an advertising executive following the death of her husband. She needs a change of pace so she returns to her hometown, Crystal Cove, CA,  to run a bookstore and cafe with her Aunt Vera. To make the opening event something special, Jenna invites an old college friend, celebrity chef Desiree Divine, to attend the grand-opening.

When Desiree arrives in town with two huge Winnebagos and an entourage, her outlandish behavior causes chaos from the start. But, matters get more dire when Jenna finds the husband-stealing, high maintenance diva murdered on the beach. The local police chief seems to suspect that Jenna killed her friend.  Jenna knows she must prove her innocence and discover the killer's identity before anyone else dies.

I enjoyed the cookbook/restaurant theme.  I kept thinking how much I would enjoy a shop like the one in the book! :) The characters are likeable and the mystery plot was interesting, believable and engaging. The book kept my attention clear to the end.

There are recipes included at the end of the book.They are all cookie recipes. As a person whose sugar intake is very limited due to medical reasons, I was a bit disappointed that there were no main course recipes, or at least something other than desserts. But, that didn't dampen my enjoyment of the book at all. :)

I will definitely be reading more of Gerber's books!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

REVIEW: Do or Diner by Christine Wenger

Do or Diner
Author: Christine Wenger

Following her divorce, Trixie Matkowski returns to upstate New York to run the family business, The Silver Bullet Diner. As a child, she spent summers there and the place is filled with pleasant memories for her. But she wonders if buying the Diner from her aunt may have been a mistake when the health inspector is poisoned by the blue plate special. Small town gossip spreads like wildfire and soon locals are avoiding the diner. To save her Diner from bankruptcy, Trixie joins forces with local deputy, Ty Brisco, to discover who murdered the health inspector.

This book was a fun read. The mystery portion of the plot was interesting and engaging. The characters were as well developed as they can be in a cozy mystery. Trixie is a likable main character. The mandatory local hunk, Ty Brisco, is steamily sexy.  And the bad guys are despicable and horrid, as required. The diner background theme is great! I love"Dinerese'' ! At the Silver Bullet Diner, a cowboy on a raft, two lead pipes with zeppelins and one bowwow with bullets is actually a western omelet with toast, spaghetti with sausage, and a hotdog and beans.

As with most culinary themed cozy mysteries, Do or Diner has recipes in the back. After the murderer is dragged off to prison, warm up the kitchen! I was pleasantly surprised that the book includes two main course recipes, not just desserts. As someone who can't have refined sugars due to medical reasons, I get a bit bummed out when a foodie cozy has only cookie or pie recipes. It's understandable if it's a cupcake bakery or cookie themed book, but when it's a restaurant theme, bring on the meat and veg! :)

I read this book as part of the SaveOurCozies readathon. Recently Penguin/Berkely publishing cancelled at least 24 of its cozy mystery series. Some of the cancelled series were favorites of mine! Do or Diner is book 1 of the 5-book Comfort Food Mystery series, which is unfortunately on the list of cancelled series.  I am hopeful that Wenger will be able to continue the series. If not, I hope she starts a new cozy series. I enjoyed her writing style.

REVIEW: Die Buying by Laura Disilverio

Die Buying
Author: Laura Disilverio

After being wounded in Afghanistan, EJ Ferris retires from the military. Because of her knee injury, instead of starting a career as a police officer, EJ finds herself working in security at a mall. That's right -- move over, Paul Blart. EJ Ferris is a Mall Cop.

I have read a lot of cozy mysteries in my time. I thought I had seen every possible theme...everything from pie shops and cooking schools to witches and ghosts. This series caught my eye because it was a theme I had yet to encounter. Murder at the Mall.

I loved this book! The theme is different and the main character is intelligent, interesting, and a skilled investigator. The plot was well developed. The mystery held my attention, and the suspense/tension built to a great ending. There is a lot of humor in this cozy mystery. Escaped reptiles, a cat named Fubar, and a grandfather who thinks he is 007. I can't wait to read book 2!!

I read this book as part of the SaveOurCozies readathon. Penguin/Berkeley Publishing has cancelled several of its popular Cozy Mystery series. The Mall Cop series is on the list of those that are being cancelled. I hope the readathon and the SaveOurCozies group can maybe get a few of these series off the chopping block, or at least give the authors a place to connect with readers about what the future of these cozy mysteries will be. There are three books in the Mall Cop series. I am definitely going to read the rest of this series. Hopefully, the saga of EJ Ferris will continue.

Laura Disilverio also writes the Book Club Mystery series.

Friday, July 15, 2016

REVIEW: Wayward by Blake Crouch

Wayward (Wayward Pines Book #2)
Author: Blake Crouch

Usually when I read a book series, I finish one book and take a break. Then after reading something from a completely different author and genre, I come meandering back to the first series to continue the story. Not this time.

When you come to Wayward Pines, there are no breaks.

After finishing book one, I was so hooked on this thriller story, that I went right on to book two: Wayward.

There are seven rules in Wayward Pines. Enjoy your life. Be happy. Work hard. Always answer your phone if it rings. Do not discuss the past. Do not discuss your life before. Don't try to leave.

Break the rules - bad things happen.

When it's the sheriff who breaks the rules, even worse things happen.

I eagerly read this book over the course of a few hours. I couldn't put it down. As with the first book, Pines, I had to suspend reality and not question the's a sci-fiction thriller not science fact.  My mantra became a bit of a variation on the MST3K theme song....."It's a story, you should really just relax.'' I let myself get lost in the suspense, and had a thrilling, good time reading this book!

I saw the television series before I read the book. Despite the fact I knew most of the events that were going to happen, the plot still managed to suck me in and thoroughly creep me out. The mastermind behind Wayward Pines, David Pilcher, is a hero and a detestable, disgusting human being at the same time. He is a victim of his own god-complex. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no exception. In book 2, readers will be faced with the evil behind the "savior'' of the human race.

The Wayward Pines series is a addictive, creepy, thrill-ride. I am jumping right into book 3, the final installment in the series. Season 1 of the television show covered all 3 of the Wayward Pines books. Season 2 of the television show is airing right now (Wednesday nights 9/8c on FOX) and is all original material. I am still saving the episodes on my DVR until I'm done reading the books though, despite the fact that  there is no possibility of spoilers. I want to enjoy the novels before I see how FOX Network does with branching off into original content. As we all know sometimes the result is outstanding, and sometimes it's awful. So, I decided not to even watch a single episode until I have finished Crouch's books.

Blake Crouch has also authored several other books including Abandon, and Run. His newest novel, Dark Matter, is coming out later this month.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

REVIEW: Pall in the Family by Dawn Eastman

Pall in the Family
Author: Dawn Eastman

Note to would-be killers:  It is not wise to commit a murder in a town filled with psychics.
(But it does make for a great cozy mystery!)

This book was fun to read! The characters are eccentric. The town and its citizens are strange yet endearing. The humor is awesome. And, the murder mystery is engaging. Perfect cozy mystery!

This is the first book by Dawn Eastman that I've read. I will definitely be reading more!

Plot basics: Crystal Haven, MI is a tourist town catering to those looking for psychic readings, seances, tarot readings and other occult fare. The Fortune family is well known in town. Rose offers tarot readings and Vi is a pet psychic. Rose's daughter, Clyde (short for Clytemnestra) has returned to town following a tragic incident. She isn't sure whether she will return to her job as a cop in Ann Arbor, or stay in Crystal Haven. Her family is encouraging her to hone her psychic abilities that she has spent years suppressing. She balks at the idea and becomes a dog walker rather than a psychic-for-hire. She changes her mind when a local psychic is murdered. Clyde has to use both her skills as a cop, and a psychic to discover the killer's identity before more Crystal Haven residents die.

Clyde's family and most of the characters in the book were outrageously kooky and fun. At one point, they are trying to investigate a murder suspect without alerting a local cop to their activities. So they are all taking turns following the suspect while hiding behind trees, running around corners, and pretending to be innocent by-standers just so the officer won't suspect they are investigating anything. The more they try to be stealthy the more obvious it is what they are doing. Hilarious!

Such a fun read! The characters' antics kept me smiling and engaged in the story just as much as the mystery portions of the plot. A great blend of mystery and humor.

Pall in the Family was Dawn Eastman's debut novel. There are now 4 books in the Family Fortune Mystery series. I can't wait to read more of the series!! This first book was a real hoot!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

REVIEW: Pines by Blake Crouch

Author: Blake Crouch

This is the first book in the Wayward Pines series. I watched the television show first, before knowing it was based on a book series. The television show follows the book relatively closely. There are some differences in characterizations and events for more dramatic effect on the small screen, but the essential plot line is the same. As is usually the case, the book is more descriptive and offers more insight into the main character's thoughts.

Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke is sent to Wayward Pines, Idaho to look for two missing federal agents. But, he is involved in a serious car accident upon arrival and wakes up unable to remember much of anything. As he struggles to make sense of the world around him, he notices that something isn't quite right about Wayward Pines. Residents behave strangely, and nobody will assist him. His briefcase is missing. His cell phone, wallet, ID and other personal belongings are gone. He can't call his wife or his superiors. There isn't even any internet access. Burke is effectively cut off from the world. What is the secret of Wayward Pines? Why can't anyone leave town? And, why is the entire area surrounded by an electrified fence?

I enjoyed this book. The pacing and tension were great. The science involved is far-fetched, but I was able to suspend reality and just enjoy the story. It's science-FICTION, not science-fact, after all. I found the premise interesting, engaging and horrific. Nurse Pam and Dr. Pilcher are scary as hell.

This book is not for the feint of heart. Agent Burke was tortured after being captured at Fallujah, and there are vivid descriptions of the psychological effect his torturer had on him. Crouch doesn't go into details about what was done to Burke physically, but more the effects on his mind. Somehow that is even more terrifying than blood and gore. At Wayward Pines, Nurse Pam and Dr. Pilcher's antics are just as bad. Dr. Pilcher truly believes the end justifies the means. The way his mind works is truly  horrific.

I love the cover art for this book. It's really eye-catching, and fits the story.

I'm definitely starting book 2 immediately!  I haven't watched season 2 of Wayward Pines yet. I've kept the episodes saved on the DVR. I'm reading the book first this time!

There are 3 books in the Wayward Pines series. Crouch has written more than a dozen novels, including Abandon and Snowbound. His next book, Dark Matter, is coming out July 26th, 2016.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

REVIEW: A Haunted Murder by J.A. Whiting

A Haunted Murder
Author: J.A. Whiting

I'm a sucker for a good ghost story. This first book in the Lin Coffin Mystery series was a fun, spooky read.

The basics: Lin Coffin returns to Nantucket, MA after her grandfather dies and she inherits his house. She is excited to return to her hometown, and to live near her cousin, Viv, again. But, almost immediately, her life is turned upside down. As a child, Lin saw ghosts. Long ago she decided to block ghosts out of her life, and learned ways to stop seeing them. After not encountering a ghost for 20 years, suddenly when she returns to Nantucket, she starts seeing spirits again. As if that wasn't bad enough, soon her cousin Viv is a murder suspect. It seems the ghosts are trying to tell her something. Lin is running out of time. She needs to solve the murder and discover what the ghosts want before someone else dies.

As with most cozies, this is a light mystery. The ghostly, spooky elements didn't interrupt the mystery plot, but blended into it pretty well. Character development is light, but that's a given for cozy mysteries. For those who love murder mysteries and ghost stories, this series is perfect. It would be a great vacation or beach read....or a great book to pick up when you just want to relax and enjoy a story.

I enjoyed this book! The main character is funny and determined. The identity of the murderer was a bit obvious, but it didn't ruin the book. The ghost portion of the plot was spooky and interesting. I like Whiting's writing style, and found it easy to lose myself in the story. There were a couple of editing issues (like changes in voice here and there), but it didn't hurt my enjoyment of the story.

I definitely plan to read the rest of this series. I loved being able to lose myself in a spooky cozy mystery for an afternoon. I want to read the Sweet Cove series as well.

There are 4 books in the Lin Coffin Mystery series. J.A. Whiting also writes the Sweet Cove Mysteries, and the Olivia Miller Mystery series.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

REVIEW: Romeow and Juliet by Kathi Daley

Romeow and Juliet
Author: Kathi Daley

It isn't often that a cozy mystery makes me laugh out loud. This one did. It was an absolute joy to read. The main character, Caitlin Hart, is at times beset by bad luck. She wears a low cut sweater in an attempt to charm a bank loan officer and has a severe wardrobe malfunction. She finds a stray cat who kindly gives her the gift of fleas, leading her to jump into the harbor within view of the same banker. She attempts to eavesdrop on possible criminals only to slip in sea lion poo ending up in the water yet again. I found the main character such a complete hoot that I couldn't stop reading. Just delightful!

As far as I am concerned Kathi Daley hit a total out-of-the-park home run with this first book in the Whales and Tails series.

The basic plot: Caitlin lives on Madrona Island off the coast of Washington State. She lives with her mother and her aunt, and they run a cat sanctuary. Caitlin  and her friend Tara plan to open a bookstore/coffee shop/cat adoption center in an abandoned cannery building. The building has been empty since the cannery closed, and the two women are working hard to secure bank financing to remodel the building. At the same time, the island's residents are divided between those who want to maintain their secluded island lifestyle and those who want to open things up to more tourism, condos and more modern ways. When Caitlin's dog Max discovers the body of an island councilman in the old cannery building, their business plans are put on hold while the murder is under investigation. When it appears that someone is trying to remove any opposition to the proposed condo project by whatever means necessary, Caitlin starts investigating to discover the murderer.

The story is rather short, but a very enjoyable read. The cover art is awesome! It was the cover that caught my eye online  and led me to read the book! The mystery is engaging and the characters likable. The humor made this a very fun read. I can't wait to read book 2 in the series!

There are 8 books so far in the Whales and Tails series. Daley also writes the Zoe Donovan mysteries, TJ Jensen Paradise Lake series, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries and Seacliff High Mysteries for teens.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

REVIEW: Ghosthunting North Carolina

Ghosthunting North Carolina
Author: Kala Ambrose

North Carolina is a beautiful and interesting state. In addition to the beaches, forests and mountains, there is so much history to experience. From Roanoke Island, the site of the first English settlement in North America, to Revolutionary and Civil War History, there is no shortage of NC historical sites and people to study. There are also many NC folk tales, legends and ghost stories.

Ghosthunting North Carolina touches on a few allegedly haunted sites across the state. The book is divided into 3 main sections: eastern coastal area, Piedmont central region and western mountains.

To be honest, I found this book to be a little light on facts about these sites and more about Kala Ambrose's ghost hunting tips and alleged "psychic'' feelings. More than one of the stories were condensed into just a couple paragraphs ending with a notation not to try and ghosthunt at the site because it is on private property.  My guess is that the intended audience for this book is amateur ghost hunters, rather than those who are interested in the spooky tales and legends from around the state. I think I prefer books that creatively recount the tales, rather than offer supposed ghost hunting tips.

I adore a good, spooky ghost story. But I draw the line at believing in EVPs, orbs (that are obviously dust motes or insects illuminated by camera or lighting equipment), or shows/groups like Ghost Hunters. So, while I enjoyed the stories in this book for the most part, I was hoping for more tale and less psychic talk. I had to chuckle at one point when she said she detected no spirits at one site but felt the angry vibes from property owners tired of ghost hunters wandering through their neighborhood. I can understand would get old quickly.

I'm not faulting anyone who does enjoy traipsing about with a tape recorder and a video camera. I'm just more into the historical legends and stories, rather than actual spirit hunting.

For me, I prefer the story telling of Charles Whedbee when it comes to North Carolina legends, hauntings and spooky places. I bought one of his books on a trip to  Nag's Head on the outerbanks, and was instantly hooked. Great storytelling......and no ghost hunting info.

If you are a ghost enthusiast, I would recommend this book. If you are more into great storytelling and legends, I'd skip this one and try the  books by Charles Whedbee instead.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

REVIEW: On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle

On What Grounds
Author: Cleo Coyle

I am a die-hard cozy mystery fan. A cute theme, an endearing pet of some sort and a sprinkle of murder on top -- love it. The kitcsch-ier the better, as far as I am concerned. Perfect summer reading for me.

I also love coffee. My morning cuppa is my daily treat that gets my day started.

So, when I came across the Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle, I thought it would be a great blend of two of my favorite things.

I wasn't wrong.

However, this first book in the series did point out I am wrong about several things.

1. I store my coffee improperly.

2. I brew my coffee incorrectly.

3. And, I have never ever had a "proper'' espresso drink.

Which brings me to a great point about this book -- the author actually includes interesting information when it comes to the background theme -- coffee. There is a lot of information about coffee, brewing coffee and making coffee drinks in this book! It isn't just fluff added for ambiance.....there's great factual information (and recipes included as well).

So let's cut to the chase -- the plot. Clare Cosi has returned to New York and the job she held for 10 years, managing Village Blend, an upscale coffeehouse. The Village Blend has been in business for 100 years, but the last manager almost ran it into the ground. Clare moves back to Manhattan to repair the damage, at the request of the owner (who also happens to be her ex-mother in law).

But, just as all of her belongings have been moved into the apartment above the shop and she is settling back into her old job, Clare comes to work to discover her assistant manager unconscious at the foot of the basement stairs. The police believe it was a freak accident, but Clare knows foul play was involved.

Clare is soon on the case, aided by a police detective and her ex-husband. If they can't prove their suspicions that someone pushed Annabelle down the steps, the Village Blend might face lawsuits from Annabelle's nasty step-mother.

All in all, I liked this book. The mystery was interesting and kept my attention. I enjoyed the factual information about coffee and how it should be properly prepared. I liked the characters for the most part, but as in most cozies, there really wasn't a lot of in-depth character development. It's a light mystery read....not a deep, involved thriller. So I'm ok with that.

The cover-art is eye-catching. Always a plus with me. Recipes included -- also a nice addition to a food/beverage themed cozy.

Cleo Coyle is the pen-name for Alice Alfonsi and her husband, Marc Cerasini. There are 14 books in the series so far, with the 15th scheduled for publication in September 2016. This author duo also writes under the name Alice Kimberly. As Kimberly, they wrote the Haunted Bookshop Mystery series. There were 5 books in that series and a sixth scheduled for publication, before the series was dropped. I remember being frustrated because I loved the series....but it just halted with no explanation. I would assume it was some sort of publisher/contract snafu.....which seems to be a common occurrence unfortunately. I will just have to enjoy the Coffeehouse Mystery series and continue to hope that the Haunted Bookshop will return at some point.

I will definitely be reading more of this series!! Now....I just need to find a coffee shop that makes a proper espresso!