Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dru's Cozy Report: September Reading List



Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report. This month we have three new series for your reading pleasure.

Quickstep to Murder by Ella Barrick is the first book in the new "Ballroom Dance" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, September 2011

When Stacy Graysin catches her fiancĂ© and dance partner, Rafe, doing the horizontal mambo with a samba queen, she immediately nixes their engagement. But the two still co-own a professional ballroom dance studio. Now Rafe wants to boost the studio's bottom line by offering—shudder!—hip-hop and tap classes, but Stacy would rather shave off her blond locks than dance to that tune. Finding Rafe's lifeless body in their studio really makes Stacy's head spin, and when police name her as the chief suspect, she decides to investigate so she won't be waltzing into a prison cell. At least, Stacy thinks, she now owns the studio outright. But Rafe recently changed his will and his estranged half brother has come forward, ready to sell the studio to the highest bidder...who may be the murderer.

Ahh, the romance of ballroom dancing and the dying isn’t easy. That is what faces Stacy when she finds her ex-fiancĂ©’s dead body on her ballroom floor, the victim of foul play. The detective assigned to the case names Stacy as their prime suspect and believing they won’t look for the real killer, Stacy sets out to find a murderer before her two-steps becomes a jailhouse march. This was a well-written, evenly-paced story that had elements I love in a mystery; a page-turner with plenty of action, a whodunit that stumped me as I thought I knew who the killer was, great conversations, a hint of romance and a wonderful cast of characters. This is a great beginning and I look forward to the second book in this pleasantly appealing series.

Visit Ella at www.ellabarrick.com

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book


Mind Over Murder by Allison Kingsley is the first book in the new "Raven's Nest Bookstore" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2011

For some time, all Clara Quinn wanted was to get away from Finn's Harbor—and her inherited ability to see into the future and read people's thoughts, a trait her family calls the Quinn Sense. But Clara couldn't stay away for long, and soon she's helping her cousin, Stephanie Quinn Dowd, in her bookstore, the Raven's Nest. The bookstore has made an enemy of the town crier, Ana Jordon, who's outraged by the store’s occult collection and how it’s poisoning the town’s youth. Meanwhile, the store’s number one employee, Molly, has made no secret of her anger over Ana’s antics. So when Ana is found dead, killed by the bust of Edgar Allen Poe—sculpted by Molly—the evidence is stacked against her. Clara knows Molly and the store are in trouble. Now she must rely on her gift to make sense of this senseless murder.

This is another great debut! Having ignored her psychic ability for so long, Clara is put to the test when her cousin’s employee becomes the prime suspect in a recent murder. Sensing that she is innocent, Clara agrees to help Stephanie close the book on this killer. What a great read! This was a well-crafted tale that I could not put down, not even for a minute. The running conversation between the two cousins entertained me as they devise scenarios to catch a killer with surprising results. With a likeable cast, a small-town feel and a good mystery plot, I hope the doors stays open for this delightfully charming debut series.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book


Button Holed by Kylie Logan is the first book in the new "Button Box" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2011

Working out of her button shop in a Chicago brownstone, Josie Giancola has quietly become one of the country's leading experts on buttons—antique buttons, jeweled buttons, artistic buttons. Her reputation draws a Hollywood starlet to the Button Box to shop for one-of-a-kind buttons to adorn her made-to-order wedding gown. But after the Button Box is ransacked and the actress is murdered, Josie's cozy world is thrown into chaos. Homicide detective Nevin Riley is looking to her for clues, starting with the murder weapon—an antique buttonhook. But a killer has other ideas, like keeping Josie's lips buttoned up...permanently.

Jo is thrown into a murder investigation when first she finds a dead body in her shop and then when the police detective seeks her help. When her friend is later arrested for the murder, Jo continues to gather clues and in the process learns more about herself. The brilliant use of buttons as a mystery plot worked well because I could not tear my eyes away from this book. The easy tone and fresh dialogue kept the pages flowing. It was fun meeting Jo and exploring her relationships with her friends. The storyline kept me guessing with so many twists and turns that I didn’t see the killer until it was too late. This is a great start to a terrific series and I can’t wait to read what is un-buttoned next.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book