Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dru's Cozy Report: January 2012 Reading List

Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report. This month we have four new series for your reading pleasure. The fourth one is a gem I found in my TBR pile and I'm so glad I read it.

An Appetite For Murder by Lucy Burdette is the first book in the new "Key West Food Critic" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, January 2012

Hayley Snow is a woman of many passions. She's followed her soul mate to funky, foodie Key West, but when their romance loses its sizzle, she's determined to find a new life in this island paradise. She's always been a foodie, so when she applies to be a food critic for Key Zest, the new Key West style magazine, it seems like a perfect pairing. Then Hayley discovers that her potential new boss is Kristen Faulkner—the woman who stole her boyfriend. Hayley can't see how things can get worse now that she's loveless, possibly working for her romantic rival, and living on her friend's boat—until Kristen is murdered and the police pull Hayley in as a suspect. Unfortunately, Hayley's got more motive than Key Lime pie has meringue. To clear her name she'll have to find the real killer fast or the only restaurant she'll be reviewing is the prison cafe.

What a great read. All Hayley wanted was to stay in Key West and work as a food critic, but instead she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of her soon-to-be boss and it doesn’t look like the police are looking elsewhere. To prove her innocence, Hayley will have to create a recipe that will expose a killer. This engaging and page turning murder mystery kept me guessing throughout most of the story. The evenly-paced story boasts a perfect backdrop that is Key West, delicious meals interwoven into the story and likable characters. I especially like Hayley who is funny, strong yet vulnerable and has a zest for living that made this well-written tale come to life. This is a fantastic beginning to a delectably entertaining series.

Visit Lucy at

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

Stay At Home Dead by Jeffrey Allen is the first book in the new "Stay at Home" mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, January 2012

It’s a day like any other for Deuce Winters, a stay-at-home dad in sleepy Rose Petal, Texas, where he and his three-year-old daughter Carly are making their weekly trip to the grocery store. But the discovery of a dead body in his mini-van quickly throws his quiet life into disarray. In a town where gossip spreads faster than a brush fire in July, it doesn’t help that the victim ruined Deuce’s high school football career and married his ex-girlfriend. As the number one suspect in the court of public opinion, Deuce is determined to clear his name, with a little help from his wife Julianne, a high-powered attorney who lovingly refers to him as her “househusband.” His search for the killer leads him to a business plan gone awry and a gaggle of jilted lovers. All the while, he’ll have to contend with a diminutive but feisty detective, the ruthless preschool PTA, and more than his fair share of Texas-sized hairdos—not to mention the laundry.

What a fun debut! Stay-at-home dad, Deuce, finds a dead body in his minivan and when the town’s gossip has him all but convicted, Deuce looks into this case to clear his name with help from unlikely sources. This is a light-hearted, fun-filled, and well-written who-dun-it that I enjoyed immensely. The mystery was a good one and when I thought I had the killer’s identity in my grasp, the author changed direction. I love the people in Deuce’s world; especially scene-stealer Carly. With a clever plot, a comfortable ambiance, an enjoyable banter and a likeable cast, this is great start in this charming and amusing series.

Visit Jeffrey at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my own copy of this book

If Fried Chicken Could Fly by Paige Shelton is the first book in the new "Country Cooking School" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, January 2012

At Gram's Country Cooking School, Betts and Gram are helping students prepare the perfect dishes for the Southern Missouri Showdown, the cook-off that draws lots of summer visitors. Then they discover the body of local theater owner Everett Morningside in the school's supply room—and Everett's widow points the finger at Gram. Betts must clear Gram's name and keep the cook-off preparations on schedule—all while worrying about a mysterious cowboy only she seems to be able to see. And after shots are fired at her, Betts has to dig deep into Broken Rope's history to find the modern-day killer—before the last wing is served.

I like this book. When Betts and her grandmother find a dead body in their school’s supply closet, it doesn’t look good for Grams when she becomes the primary suspect. To save Gram’s reputation, Betts and Jerome will have to find a killer before Grams becomes dead meat. This was an enjoyable read that kept me going until the last sentence. This well-designed tale of mystery had worthy suspects and I enjoyed watching Betts blend the clues from Jerome’s past memories to expose the killer before more harm was done. The small *old-west* town atmosphere; the casual conversations; and a charming cast makes this a delightful read in this wonderful and appealing debut series.

Visit Paige at

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

Skeleton in a Dead Space by Judy Alter is the first book in the "Kelly O'Connell" mystery series. Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press, August 2011

Kelly O’Connell never thought real estate was a dangerous profession, until she stumbled over a skeleton in a dead space in an early-twentieth-century Craftsman house she was transforming into a coveted modern home in an older urban neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas. From that moment, she runs into teen-age gang members, a manipulative ex-husband, a needy and single pregnant friend, a cold-blooded murderer, and a policeman who wants to be more than her protector. As free-spirited as the chocolate-peanut-jalapeƱo candy she craves, Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman-boyfriend, protect her two young daughters, pacify her worried mother a thousand miles away, and keep her real estate business afloat. Too often she puts herself in danger, and sometimes it’s the girls, not Mike, who come to Kelly’s rescue.

All Kelly wanted to do was finish the house she was renovating, but instead she got a dead skeleton and threats against her family. What a great read that I could not put down. The author had me quickly turning the pages in this suspenseful who-dun-it and the many twists and turns kept the plot moving towards a rewarding conclusion. With a comfortable tone, lovable and quirky characters, great conversation, especially the internal dialogue that Kelly has with herself, and a hint of romance, this was an enjoyable debut and I look forward to the next book in wonderful new series.

Visit Judy at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my own copy of this book