Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dru's Cozy Report: July 2012 Reading List



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


Murder for Choir by Joelle Charbonneau is the first book in the new "Glee Club" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2012

Even as a struggling opera singer, Paige Marshall has never seen anything like the cutthroat competition of the Prospect Glen High School show choir. As their new coach, she's getting an icy reception from championship-hungry students who doubt she can take them to a first-place victory. Toughing this gig out may prove harder than scoring her big break. Especially now that her best young male singer is suspected of killing the arrogant coach of Prospect Glen's fiercest rival choir. For Paige to clear his name, she'll have to sort through a chorus of suspects—and go note for note with a killer who'll do anything to knock her out of the spotlight for good.
When Paige finds their chief rival’s dead body — evidence points to her most prized young singer. Believing in his innocence, Paige sets out to tip the scale in the right direction by finding the killer. This was a fun read that entertained me from the start to the tantalizing conclusion. This easy flowing and well-written whodunit quickly became a page-turner as I could not put down this book. With a great plot, the mystery kept me guessing as the case came to fruition. Paige is a determined and likable character with a supporting cast that includes her aunt Millie who is hilarious. This is a wonderful entry into the cozy genre and I can’t wait for my next visits with Paige and her friends in this delightfully enjoyable debut series.

Visit Joelle at http://joellecharbonneau.com

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

A Plain Death by Amanda Flower is the first book in the new "Appleseed Creek" mystery series. Publisher: B&H Publishing, July 2012

While her Cleveland friends relocated to Southern California and Italy, 24-year-old computer whiz Chloe Humphrey moves with some uncertainty to Appleseed Creek to direct technology services at a nearby college. Her first acquaintance is Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home. While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish elder. But what looks like an accident is soon labeled murder when police discover the car’s cut brake line. Now, Chloe must take on the role of amateur sleuth to discover who the real intended victim was before the murderer makes a second attempt. Becky’s handsome Amish-turned-Mennonite brother, Timothy, a local carpenter, comes in handy along the way. With God’s help, they’ll solve the mystery that’s rocking this small community.
What a great read. This story had plenty of action and suspense that kept me turning the pages. The tone was very comfortable and the author did a good job at diverting my attention that kept me guessing as the story moved along. Chloe is a great character, strong yet vulnerable as is Becky, one of the secondary cast in this charmingly appealing and wonderful series. This debut mystery is a great beginning to what I hope is a long-running series.

Visit Amanda at www.amandaflower.com

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

Going Organic Can Kill You by Staci McLaughlin is the first book in the new "Blossom Valley" mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, July 2012

Welcome to Blossom Valley, CA, home of the O'Connell Organic Farm and Spa, complete with its new marketing maven, Dana Lewis, former Blossom Valley resident and unapologetic junk food connoisseur—and soon to be sleuth. As Dana readjusts to life back home with her recently widowed mother, her latest career move isn't exactly a piece of cake. In fact, it's all tofu fish sticks, stuffed squash blossoms, and enough wheat grass shots to scream bloody murder—especially when Dana discovers the body of Maxwell Mendelsohn, Hollywood producer and opening weekend guest, deader than a yoga corpse pose. While Dana pens the Spa's blog and balances the attentions of the local police and reporter Jason Forrester, her escalating job duties now include finding clues, motives and suspects. One thing's for certain, she better act fast before all this healthy living kills her.
A dead body found on her second day. No one told Dana there be days like this working at the Spa. With an indifferent detective working the case and a promise to her mother, Dana sets out to find a killer before she loses another job. Dana is a girl after my own heart with her love of junk food. In this well-crafted tale, the pace is evenly matched to the flow of the story. The mystery was good with plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing as to the identity of the killer. In addition to Dana, the cast is rounded out by her mom Dorothy, her sister Ashlee, her co-workers at the Spa and a smattering of local residents. The dialogue was very enjoyable, especially the delivery of Dana’s internal snarky remarks, which were quite humorous. This is a fun read and I look forward to more visits with Dana and the people of Blossom Valley in this attractively appealing debut series.

Visit Staci at www.stacimclaughlin.com

Full Disclosure – I bought my copy of this book

Diners, Dives and Dead Ends by Terri L. Austin is the first book in the new "Rose Strickland" mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, July 2012

As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out. With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.
This traditional mystery captured my attention from the opening pages to the exhilarating finale. The frantic pace and action packed drama kept me on my toes as I followed Rose and her friends through the myriads of situations in order to rescue and save her friend. Rose is a strong character whose determination shines as she comes across people who are against her. The author did a good job in keeping me in suspense especially with a revelation that took me by surprise. With a likable cast and the diner used as the backdrop, this was an enjoyable read in this debut series and I look forward to more adventures with Rose and the gang for years to come. Note: there is use of strong language by one or more characters.

Visit Terri at http://terrilaustin.com

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

And check out these other July releases