Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The April 2014 Report


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Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report: April 2014. This month we have four recently released new series for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!



Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen
Series: Bridal Bouquet Shop #1
Publisher: Berkely Prime Crime
A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower — Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead — sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business — not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies.
We are introduced to Audrey and Liv, cousins and co-owners of The Rose in Bloom, a florist shop in small town America. All is good until a broken engagement ends up in murder. When her friend is jailed for the murder, Audrey believing in her innocence, starts looking into who else had a stronger motive and wanted him dead. This was a good read with a comfortable tone and an easy flow. The plot was well-defined and presented plenty of suspects to choose from with plenty of red herrings to keep me turning the pages to see if I honed in on the killer when their identity was revealed. One of the things I enjoyed in reading this light whodunit was how Audrey created bouquets for her customers. This is a great read and I look forward to the next book in this wonderfully charming series.

Visit Beverly Allen at www.barbaraearly.com

Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon
Series: Tourist Trap #1
Publisher: Kensington
In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store--Coffee, Books, and More--open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?

When Jill's elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily's gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill--along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit--especially if it gets her closer to South Cove's finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she's on the case--and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently.
This was a good read and I love the author’s style, which was warm and friendly. The background setting also gave me a sense of calmness. The tone was comfortable and the pace had a steady flow to it, making it easy to follow the storyline and clues. The author did a great job in tantalizing me with suspects and scenarios that led me to believe I knew who was behind it all, and I was surprised at the revelation. Jill is a great character and I like her determination to find the killer, even when threatened. With a likable supporting cast, that includes her aunt Jackie and hunky Detective King and with engaging conversations, this was very enjoyable and I can’t wait to read the next book in this wonderfully appealing series.

Visit Lynn Cahoon at lynncahoon.wordpress.com

Death on Eat Street by J. J. Cook
Series: Biscuit Bowl Food Truck #1
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.
This was a very enjoyable read that introduces Zoe Chase, our spunky heroine, who left her job to start out on her own with her food truck business and along the way, becomes entangle in a murder investigation when she finds a body in her truck. I loved how the author presented this story in a style that was easy to follow. The mystery was good as it quickly became a page-turner for me. Zoe is a lovable character with a heart of gold that cares for her friends and is surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters that includes Ollie, Miguel, Delia and her parents. I look forward to more adventures with Zoe and the gang in this wonderfully terrific new series.

Visit J. J. Cook at www.joyceandjimlavene.com

The Whole Cat and Caboodle by Sofie Ryan
Series: Second Chance Cat #1
Publisher: Obsidian
Sarah Grayson is the happy proprietor of Second Chance, a charming shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. At the shop, she sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. But her favorite pet project so far has been adopting a stray cat she names Elvis.

Elvis has seen nine lives—and then some. The big black cat with a scar across his nose turned up at a local bar when the band was playing the King of Rock and Roll’s music and hopped in Sarah’s truck. Since then, he’s been her constant companion and the furry favorite of everyone who comes into the store.

But when Sarah’s elderly friend Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, the kindly old lady becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Even Sarah’s old high school flame, investigator Nick Elliot, seems convinced that Maddie was up to no good. So it’s up to Sarah and Elvis to clear her friend’s name and make sure the real murderer doesn’t get a second chance.
I love the comfortable tone in this light-hearted whodunit that flowed easily from chapter to chapter, quickly becoming a page-turner that I did not want to put down. This mystery had a few twists and turns where I thought I had it figured out until that “aha” moment when I knew exactly who the killer was and it was fun watching it all play out. The author did a great job in the presentation of this story pulling me in so that I’m rooting for Sarah and her merry band of sleuths whose age range from teens to the 70s. I like the camaraderie and the dialogue between this group and their interaction amongst the people of North Harbor. This was a wonderful read and I can’t wait for more adventures with Sarah and her friends in the next book in this delightfully charming new series.

Visit Sofie Ryan at www.sofieryan.com