Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dru's Cozy Report: May 2012 Reading List

Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report. This month we have three new series for your reading pleasure.
A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton is the first book in the new "Vintage Kitchen" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2012

When vintage cookware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton spies an original 1920s Hoosier-brand kitchen cabinet at an estate auction, it’s love at first sight. Despite the protests of her sister, Rebecca, that the nineteenth-century yellow brick house they share in Michigan is already too cluttered with Jaymie’s junk, she successfully outbids the other buyers and triumphantly takes home her Hoosier. But that night on the summer porch where they’ve left the Hoosier to be cleaned up, a man is murdered–struck on the head with the steel meat grinder that is part of the cabinet. Who is this stranger, and what was he doing on their porch? Does his death have anything to do with the Hoosier? As the police struggle to determine the man’s identity, Jaymie can’t help doing a little digging on her own, accompanied by her three-legged Yorkie Poo, Hopalong. But in her bid to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the Hoosier, Jaymie may be the one who ends up going, going...gone.
In this new series, we are introduced to Jaymie Leighton who is a collector of vintage cookware and works part-time. Jaymie is thrust into murder when a dead body is found near her prized purchased of the Hoosier kitchen furniture. Concerned for her safety and peace of mind, Jaymie begins to piece together snippets she overheard and facts she learned to unpeel a killer in her midst. This was a great book with good writing, great dialogue and an all-around nice place to visit and stay awhile. Jaymie is a strong heroine who shows her vulnerability and strength at the same time as she looks for clues to this murder mystery. The secondary characters are likable and I can’t wait to see more interaction between them. The author did a good job at keeping me guessing, especially when I thought it was all over and then BAM, the story wasn’t over and I was a bit surprised at the killer’s identity, as I didn’t see that one coming. A great debut and I’m looking forward to the next book in this wonderfully crafted series with bonus recipes.

Visit Victoria at www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com

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

Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates is the first book in the new "Magical Bakery" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, May 2012

Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees. While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells! When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer.
I love discovering new series, and in this one Katie Lightfoot learns that she was born to a family of spell-casting witches. That newfound task may be put to use when her uncle becomes the prime suspect in a murder. Knowing that the police will need absolute proof of her uncle’s innocence, Katie and the others begin an investigation into who had a stronger motive. This was a fun book that I enjoyed immensely. The murder mystery stomped me and totally caught me unaware of the killer’s identity. I like the spirit of Katie as she comes to term with her heredity and the supporting characters blend beautifully in the storyline and I can’t wait to read more about their history. This fast-moving whodunit boasts a great plot, a lovable and colorful cast, entertaining dialogue and a warm and a friendly tone. This is a great beginning in this charmingly enchanting debut series that I hope is here to stay. Bonus recipes are included in this delightful read.

Bailey Cates is the pseudonym of Cricket McRae and you can visit her at www.baileycates.com

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

The Big Kitty by Claire Donally is the first book in the new "Sunny and Shadow" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2012

Sunny Coolidge left her New York City newspaper job to go back to Maine and take care of her ailing father. But there’s not much excitement—or interesting work—in Kittery Harbor. So when Ada Spruance, the town’s elderly Cat Lady, asks for help finding her supposedly winning lottery ticket, Sunny agrees. But when she arrives at Ada’s with a stray tomcat named Shadow tagging along, they discover the poor woman dead at the bottom of her stairs. Was it an accident—or did Ada’s death have to do with that missing lottery ticket, which turns out to be worth six million dollars? Town constable Will Price suspects the worst, and Sunny’s reporter instincts soon drive her to do some investigating of her own. Even Shadow seems to have a nose for detective work. Following the trail of the purrloined ticket, Sunny and Shadow try to shed some light on a killer’s dark motives—before their own numbers are up.
Sonata “Sunny” Coolidge goes to help a neighbor known as the Cat Lady, locate a missing lottery ticket in her home, but instead finds the dead woman’s body. Suspecting that there is more to the woman’s death than the police wants to believe, Sunny puts on her reporter’s hat and discovers that someone doesn’t want this case investigated and Sunny with help from a purrsonable friend, will have to unpick the number of suspect to find a killer. What a great read. This was a fun and intriguing read filled with tension and suspense as this whodunit quickly grabbed my attention. The author did a good job with the many twists and turns in this story, and caught me by surprise when the real killer was revealed. Sunny is a lovable heroine and with her newfound friend, their internal dialogue played an enjoyable role in the delightful and lighthearted mystery. This debut novel is a great start to a series I hope to keep reading for years to come.

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