Saturday, February 15, 2014

The February 2014 Report

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Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report: February 2014. This month I have one new series for your reading pleasure, and highlights from recent releases. Enjoy!

A Tough Nut To Kill by Elizabeth Lee is the first book in the new "Nut House" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, February 2014
Riverville, Texas, is pecan country, and the Blanchard family farm is famous for its acres of tall pecan trees and the delicious pies and cookies sold at the Nut House, the aptly named family store. Miss Amelia, Lindy’s feisty grandmother, makes the best pecan pies for several counties and the farm is attracting visitors from far and wide to sample the wares.

Until the day Lindy walks into the greenhouse to find her uncle Amos murdered and her new stock of trees destroyed, with the best of the bunch stolen. Who is out to ruin the Blanchard family? And who wanted Uncle Amos dead? With the sheriff stumped, it’s up to Lindy and Miss Amelia to save the ranch and tree a killer.
In small town Texas, Lindy is working on a project to help the family pecan business when the black sheep of the family arrives with a message for her mama. When he is found dead on the family farm and Lindy's trees are destroyed, the police arrests her brother who shouted to the world that his uncle had killed his father. When the cops appear to not be looking for the right killer, Lindy and her spunky grandma form an investigative team with help from an unlikely source, to unroot a killer before they strike again.

I enjoyed this new debut that started off a bit slow but as the story moved forward, it was full speed ahead as I got caught up in the family back story and I wanted to know who was behind the murder. There were plenty of suspects to keep me busy eliminating clues as it all came down to one hint and I enjoyed watching all the pieces come together for Lindy and her family. The townsfolk are a fun bunch that includes the senior twin sisters who bickers with the best of them, but are fun nonetheless and Ethelred who has her own agenda; and Miss Amelia and her "special pie." This was a good read and I look forward to the next chapter in small town Riverville.

FTC Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in the hopes I would review it.

Other books released this month:

Days of Wine and Roquefort by Avery Aames
Series: Cheese Shop #5

Cheese Shop owner Charlotte Bessette's life seems quieter than ever with her fiancé out of town and her cousin Matthew and his children out of the house. But before she can put up her feet and enjoy a glass of chardonnay, Matthew asks her to play host to Noelle Adams, a bright sommelier visiting to help grow business for the local winery.

An affable wine aficionado, Noelle is paired well with the cheese expert Charlotte--but something seems to be troubling the secretive houseguest, and Charlotte's life is upended when she finds the sparkling woman dead. Between Noelle's hotheaded ex, the cagey owners of the winery, its jaded manager, and a wily reporter, Charlotte has her pick of suspects, but she needs to act fast--this is a mystery that only gets more dangerous with age.
Poison at the PTA by Laura Alden
Series: PTA #5

Beth has been running nonstop to be the best PTA president, bookstore owner, and single parent ever, which is why her friend Marina is staging an intervention. Beth needs to take a break—and that means letting someone else organize the PTA’s upcoming eightieth-anniversary event.

But when Cookie Van Doorne, one of the event speakers, dies of suspicious causes, Beth decides to make an intervention of her own to find out what happened. When she discovers that Cookie was poisoned, the next order of business is catching a killer whose break is almost over.
Books, Cooks and Crooks by Lucy Arlington
Series: Novel Ideas #3

Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, is bubbling with excitement for the Taste of the Town festival, and Lila is right in the middle of it all. Along with her coworkers at the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila is organizing a grand celebrity chef event, featuring food television's biggest stars, complete with cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest.

But just as the celebration is about to start, the demo kitchen blows up, taking one of the star cooks with it. With all the explosive egos of the cook’s colleagues, it’s hard to find someone who didn’t have a motive to eliminate the competition. Now Lila will have to scramble to figure out which of her clients is a killer—before someone else gets burned.
Death of an Irish Diva by Mollie Cox Bryan
Series: Cumberland Creek #3

Vera's dance studio may have suffered when Emily waltzed into town, but the croppers know she's not a vengeful murderer. Lucky for her, co-scrapbooker Annie is a freelance reporter eager to vindicate her friend.

What she discovers is a puzzling labyrinth of secrets that only add question marks to Emily's murder. Just when it seems they've run out of clues, an antique scrapbook turns up and points the croppers in the right direction - and brings them face to face with a killer more twisted than a Celtic knot.
Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette
Series: Key West Food Critic #5

For better or worse, Hayley has agreed to bake over 200 cupcakes for her friend Connie’s wedding while still meeting her writing deadlines. The last thing she needs is family drama. But her parents come barreling down on the island like a category 3 hurricane and on their first night in town her stepbrother, Roby, disappears into the spring break party scene in Key West.

When Hayley hears that two teenagers have stolen a jet ski, she sets aside her oven mitts and goes in search of Rory. She finds him, barely conscious, but his female companion isn’t so lucky. Now Hayley has to let the cupcakes cool and assemble the sprinkles of clues to clear her stepbrother’s name—before someone else gets iced.
Throw in the Trowel by Kate Collins
Series: Flower Shop #15

Flower Shop owner Abby Knight has just returned from a romantic honeymoon with the man of her dreams. There’s no reason for the bloom to be off the rose just because she and Marco are returning to normal life. But when Marco discovers a skeleton buried in the basement of his bar, it is a bit of a mood killer.

When the body is identified as a carpenter who went missing back in the 1970s, Abby and Marco decide to cultivate the clues to solve the cold case. What could be more romantic? But the deeper they dig, the more desperate the murderer grows. And if Marco and Abby don’t unearth the killer’s identity, they may not live to see their first anniversary.
Scandal in Skibbereen by Sheila Connolly
Series: County Cork #2

Bostonian Maura is beginning to feel settled in her new Irish home, just in time for summer tourist season to bring fresh business to her pub. But the first traveler to arrive is thirsty for more than just a pint of Guinness. Althea Melville is hot on the trail of a long-lost Van Dyck painting.

Maura agrees to help Althea meet with the residents at the local manor house, the most likely location of the missing art. But when the manor’s gardener is found murdered, Maura wonders what Althea’s real motives are. Now, to solve the secret of the lost portrait and catch a killer, Maura will have to practice her Irish gift of gab and hunt down some local history—before someone else is out of the picture.
Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Series: Hannah Swensen #17

It's been a sleepy summer for the folks of Lake Eden, Minnesota. In fact, it's been a whole four months since anyone in the Swensen family has come across a dead body—a detail that just made the front page of the local paper. And that means Hannah Swensen can finally focus on her bakery. . .or can she?

Life is never really quiet for Hannah. After all, her mother's wedding is a little over a month away and guess who Delores put in charge of the planning? Yet just when Hannah believes her biggest challenge will be whether to use buttercream or fondant for the wedding cake, she accidentally hits a stranger with her cookie truck while driving down a winding country road in a raging thunderstorm. Hannah is wracked with guilt, and things get even worse when she's arrested. . .for murder! But an autopsy soon reveals the mystery man, his shirt covered in stains from blackberry pie, would have died even if Hannah hadn't hit him. Now, to clear her name, Hannah will have to follow a trail of pie crumbs to track down the identity of the deceased, find a baker who knows more about murder than how to roll out a perfect pie crust—and get herself to the church on time.
Town in a Strawberry Swirl by B.B. Haywood
Series: Candy Holliday #5

Summer has arrived! But as the community gears up for another festive strawberry-picking season, the villagers are shocked when local berry farmer Miles Crawford is found dead in a hoophouse near his strawberry fields. Rumors have been swirling around about a secret real estate deal between Miles and Lydia St. Graves. And now Lydia is missing after she was seen fleeing the scene of the crime.

When Henry “Doc” Holliday becomes involved in the mystery, his daughter Candy finds herself caught in the jam as well. But things turn very sticky when Lydia suddenly reappears and asks for Candy’s help in finding the true murderer.
A Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan
Series: League of Literary Ladies #2

Summer can be the best of times or the worst of times for the resort town of Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie. For Bea Cartwright, business is booming as guests storm her B and B for the Bastille Day celebration. In honor of the holiday, the League of Literary Ladies is reading the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Tale of Two Cities. It would be hard to make a more apropos selection—especially when they have their very own Defarge sisters, elderly twins Margaret and Alice, who run the local knitting shop.

On Bastille Day, the head-banging rock band Guillotine shows their chops for the tourists—but the celebration is soon cut short. With something needling the Defarge dowagers and secrets that lead to murder, solving this mystery will be a far, far better thing than the Literary Ladies have done before. They’ll just have to make sure to keep their heads while they try to stop a killer’s reign of terror.
A Fatal Slip by Meg London
Series: Sweet Nothings #3

For Valentine’s Day, Emma Taylor and her aunt Arabella have organized a special evening for men only to shop for their sweethearts in the Sweet Nothings lingerie shop, complete with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. But when a former valentine shows up, Aunt Arabella is not her usual bubbly self.

Art dealer Hugh Granger is still a charmer, though. He invites the women to a ball he’s having to celebrate his birthday and his return to Paris, Tennessee. But when Granger is pushed from the balcony, it paints a sinister picture for Aunt Arabella, who gets framed…for her old flame’s murder.
Green Living Can Be Deadly by Staci McLaughlin
Series: Blossom Valley #3

When Dana Lewis organizes her Green Living Festival, complete with free range fauna and tempting delicacies of tofu and tempeh, she hopes to inspire Blossom Valley into reducing their carbon footprint.

But for some participants, saving the planet should have come second to saving their skin, like green energy guru Wendy Stevens, just found dead in her invisible Prints booth. Now Dana needs to work fast to stop a killer from turning her big event into the next great environmental disaster.
Beewitched by Hannah Reed
Series: Queen Bee #5

Beekeeper Story Fischer has stocked the shelves of her market, The Wild Clover, in preparation for the influx of produce-crazy tourists about to invade Moraine, Wisconsin. In fact, with the apple cider and caramel apple stand on Main Street and the corn maze out at Country Delight Farm, the whole town is ready for the swarm.

But when a self-proclaimed witch moves into town, the neighbors are all abuzz with questions. Is the quirky newcomer a good witch or a bad one? Story thinks Dyanna Crane is perfectly nice, albeit a little eccentric. But after an entire coven shows up for a new moon ritual—and one of the witches ends up dead in the corn maze—Story must comb through both fact and fiction, before anyone else is murdered under the cover of magic.