Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dru's Cozy Report: February 2012 Reading List

Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report. This month we have two new and one returning series for your reading pleasure.

Dutch Me Deadly by Maddy Hunter is the seventh book in the "Passport to Peril" mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, February 2012

As a travel escort for seniors, Emily Andrew-Miceli has led her feisty Iowa clan all over the world. This time, they’re off to see historic windmills, classic Rembrandts, and picturesque canals in Holland—if they can ever unplug from their smartphones, that is. Joining them is the high school class from Bangor, Maine, whose 50th reunion celebration goes south faster than a fallen Brussel sprout soufflé as old rivalries start heating up. Worse, Emily’s hopes for a 100% survival rate on this trip are dashed when an important member of the tour suffers a tragic (and highly suspicious) accident. Then the saucy seniors’ wild night of drug-laced desserts and risqué shows in Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District gets even more mysterious when one unpopular reunioner goes missing.

It’s been five years since we last seen Emily and the seniors and boy am I glad they are back. This time the seniors have embraced technology and use it to help Emily once again solve a murder mystery abroad. I laughed at the antics of the seniors as they traipsed through Holland with their usual enthusiasm. One again Jackie is on-board and the fun never ends with the traveling Iowans. The best part of this series is the author’s description of the places they visit along the way that makes me feel like I’m part of this vacationing group. Another great mystery solved and the excitement of their next adventure is what I look forward to in this delightfully charming series.

Visit Maddy at

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

Running on Empty by Sandra Balzo is the first book in the new "Main Street" mystery series. Publisher: Severn House Publishers, February 2012

Life on Sutherton's Main Street has always been inexplicably hazardous, no matter the season in the North Carolina resort town. The student who bet he could paddle a beer-filled ice chest across the lake—and lost. The skier who choked on her gum and arrived at the bottom of the slope still standing, if not quite breathing. Not to mention that occasional tourist lost in the mountains. But the day Daisy Griggs siphoned three pints of blood from poor Mrs Bradenham during the town's annual drive seems to set a new standard. It also bought Daisy's daughter AnnaLise back, for Labor Day weekend. But the traditional celebration turns out to be no picnic. People are dying—in greater than historical numbers—and unless AnnaLise can figure out why, her mother may be next.

Upon hearing disturbing news regarding her mother, AnnaLise comes home and being the journalist that she is, starts investigating the recent spate of dead bodies, when it looks like her mother may be a target. This was a good story that I enjoyed immensely. The comfortable tone set the stage for this well-written mystery that I could not put down. When long ago secrets come crashing down and are exposed, it lends itself to a revelation that I did not see coming. This character-driven tale boasts a likeable cast, engaging conversation and a small-town atmosphere that is pleasantly appealing. This is a great read and I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.

Visit Sandra at

Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan is the first book in the new "Cumberland Creek" mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, February 2012

Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mom in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can’t help but feel that something’s missing. But she finds solace in a local “crop circle” of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother’s suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong. Annie resurrects her reporting skills and discovers that Maggie Rae was a closet scrapbooker who left behind more than a few secrets—and perhaps a few enemies. As they sift through Maggie Rae’s mysteriously discarded scrapbooks, Annie and her “crop” sisters begin to suspect that her suicide may have been murder. It seems that something sinister is lurking beneath the town’s beguilingly calm façade—like a killer with unfinished business.

Comfortable with a steady-pace is how I would describe this charming tale of intrigue. Annie’s investigative instincts rise when she suspects that her neighbor’s suicide may in fact be a murder. The murder banded the friends together to form a cohesive group that uncovered the clues to reveal a killer. This was a great story with a nicely-crafted plot that I could not put down with the many twists and turns in this well-developed mystery, that kept me guessing until the end. The spunkiness of the characters, the small town-atmosphere and the sense of a friendly community added to my reading pleasure. This is a great start to what I hope will be a long run with the women of Cumberland Creek in this enjoyably inviting series.

Visit Mollie at